NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Index Of Economic Freedom, 2001

April 19, 2001

The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, the right to keep what one earns, and the security of property rights, according to the authors of "Economic Freedom of the World: 2001 Annual Report." Compiled by economists and co-published by a worldwide network of 52 institutes, the 2001 report rates the economic freedom of 123 economies.

The authors found a number of contrasts between freer countries compared with less economically free countries:

  • Free economies have higher per-person incomes and grow more rapidly.
  • They also have less poverty and political corruption, achieve higher scores on the United Nations Human Development Index and their citizens live more than 20 years longer.
  • Economies that have remained open to trade over time have higher incomes and grow more rapidly than those with trade sectors that are more closed.

During the last two decades, trade barriers have been reduced and the world economy has become more open. But inadequate legal systems and restrictive business regulations are stifling both economic freedom and progress throughout much of Latin America and among the former socialist countries.

Including the regulatory climate, the highest rated countries were Hong Kong, Singapore, United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Ireland. Zimbabwe, Brazil, Venezuela, Ukraine and Russia received the lowest ratings.

Source: James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, Walter Park and Charles Skipton, " Economic Freedom of The World 2001 Annual Report," April 2001, Fraser Institute, 4th Floor, 1770 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6J 3G7, (604) 688-0221.


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