NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Economic Freedom of the World: 2015 Annual Report

September 18, 2015

The Fraser Institutes Annual report measures the degree of economic freedom in various countries around the world. The key principles of economic freedom are defined as personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete, security of the person and privately owned property. Using 42 data points, economic freedom was measured in 157 countries and territories:

  • size of government: expenses, taxes and enterprises
  • legal structure and security of property rights
  • access to sound money
  • freedom to trade internationally
  • regulation of credit, labor and business

Economically free nations out-perform non-free nations, and both political and civil liberties are considerably higher in economically free nations. Additionally the life expectancy of citizens of countries in the top quartile was 17 years longer than those in the bottom quartile.

  • Hong Kong and Singapore were the top two countries for economic freedom.
  • The United Kingdom was 10th; The United States was 16th; and Russia was 99th.
  • The 10 lowest-rated economically free countries were Angola, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Argentina, Syria, Chad, Libya, the Republic of Congo, and Venezuela.

The United States score in economic freedom has decreased since its 2000 rating, which researcher predict could cut the U.S. growth rate by 1.5 percent. The specific areas of decline for the United States were in international trade, regulation, legal system and protection of property rights.

Source: James Gwartney, Robert Lawson and Joshua Hall, " Economic Freedom of the World: 2015 Annual Report," Fraser Institute, 2015.


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