NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Economic Freedom is Gaining Momentum

November 12, 2002

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have just issued their latest edition of the Index of Economic Freedom and the news is good. The 2003 edition reports that economic freedom is gaining throughout the world. Every region has improved.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Worldwide, 74 countries have better scores, 49 have worse scores than last year, and 32 have scores that are unchanged.
  • Of the 156 countries numerically graded in the Index, 15 are classified as "free," 56 as "mostly free," 74 as "mostly unfree," and 11 as "repressed."
  • Six of the 10 freest economies in the Index are in North America or Europe and half of all "free" economies are in Europe.
  • Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg lead the list of "free" economies," and the U.S. comes in sixth -- tied with Estonia, which is hailed as an impressive success story.

Eleven Latin American countries improved their score this year, and 10 worsened -- making it the worst performing region. But most of the world's most repressed economies are in Asia.

"Free" countries in 2000 had an average per capita income of $26,855, while "mostly free" countries had slightly less than half that. "Mostly unfree" economies averaged only $3,229 in per capita income.

Source: Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "Liberty = Prosperity," Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2002.

For text (WSJ subscribers)


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