Economic freedom of the world

Is capitalism contagious? If so, to what extent; and how does it spread? Russell S. Sobel and Peter T. Leeson examine these questions empirically in the "Economic Freedom of the World: 2007," published by the Cato Institute and in conjunction with Canada's Fraser Institute. The 2007 report discuss the implications of these results for foreign policy and offers some predictions about the future and spread of global economic freedom.

This year's report notes that economic freedom remains on the rise:

  • The average economic freedom score rose from 5.1 (out of 10) in 1980 to 6.6 in the most recent year for which data are available.

  • Of the 102 nations with scores in 1980 and in the most recent index, 90 recorded improvements in their economic freedom score, and just nine saw a decline.

  • In this year's index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.9 out of 10, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.

    The first Economic Freedom of the World Report, published in 1996, was the result of a decade of research by a team, which included several Nobel Laureates and over 60 other leading scholars in a broad range of fields, from economics to political science, and from law to philosophy. This is the 11th edition of Economic Freedom of the World and this year's publication ranks 141 nations for 2005, the most recent year for which data are available.

    Source: James Gwartney and Robert Lawson with Russel S. Sobel and Peter T. Leeson, Economic Freedom of the World: 2007 Annual Report, Cato Institute/Fraser Institute, September 4, 2007.

    For text:

    For more on International Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 18 September 2007
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