2007 Index of Economic Freedom - few surprises

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The Heritage Foundation/WSJ 2007 Index of Economic Freedom is out. You'll see familiar faces on the rankings - both at the top (Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia) and at the bottom (North Korea, Cuba, Libya). You might notice the new methodology, which they've helpfully applied to prior year data as well.

I found the new region-by-region overview to be a more interesting read than the fluffier executive summary. A few of the reformers identified in the former - note the comparisons are within each region:

  • [M]ajor reforms in New Zealand and Australia have raised their economic freedom scores and contributed to superior economic performance.
  • Impressively for a post-Communist state, Georgia leads in labor freedom and fiscal freedom because of a combination of low taxes and a highly flexible labor market.
  • Armenia and Macedonia - leaders in freedom from government and monetary freedom, respectively - are other former Communist nations that are rebuilding their economies.
  • Bahrain is moving toward a more business-friendly environment, possibly influenced by the success of the Dubai model.
  • Namibia scores highest in business and trade freedom, showing a strong commitment to free trade and pro-business regulations.

Join the Conversation

Daniel Fireside
January 29, 2008

The Index should be read with more than a few grains of salt. The US, for instance, is docked points for raising the minimum wage and collecting taxes from corporations, but is praised for its lax regulatory environment which has led to the subprime mortgage crisis, among other scandals. For a great critique check out http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0305miller.html.

Sam Richardson
October 05, 2008

There is no agreement among leading economists that "lax regulatory environment which has led to the subprime mortgage crisis." Indeed, without some of the regulations *requiring* loans to less-than-acceptable mortgagees in the first place, the "crisis" would be much less severe.