2008 rank: #6
Despite recent reforms that increased mandatory paid annual leave for employees from 20 to 24 days, the United Kingdom held on to its spot as the sixth-best economy for small or medium-sized business, from a regulatory perspective.
Areas in which British regulations are especially business-friendly include access to credit - only three other economies make it easier than the U.K. when it comes to borrowing money - and relatively strong legal rights for borrowers and lenders.
In the past three years, the U.K. has made two rounds of reforms to enhance investor protections. These changes have strengthened corporate disclosure requirements and expanded shareholder access to internal corporate documents.
NEXT: 7. Ireland