New Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom
January 31, 2008
This month the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released the 14th edition of the Index of Economic Freedom, a publication that ranks countries on nine measures of economic freedom: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom.
The U.S. ranks fifth this year, after Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, and Australia. At the bottom of the list are North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Libya, and Burma (Myanmar).
From the executive summary:
There are clear relationships between economic freedom and numerous other cross-country variables, the most prominent being the strong relationship between the level of freedom and the level of prosperity in a given country. Previous editions of the Index have confirmed the tangible benefits of living in freer societies. Not only is a higher level of economic freedom clearly associated with a higher level of per capita gross domestic product, but those higher GDP growth rates seem to create a virtuous cycle, triggering further improvements in economic freedom. Our 14 years of Index data strongly suggest that countries that increase their levels of freedom experience faster growth rates.
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