Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report

Lynne Kiesling

Today the Fraser Institute has released its 2009 Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report. Written by James Gwartney and Robert Lawson, with assistance from other authors as well, this report is one of the most valuable quantitative comparative economic analyses of the form and extent of economic freedom around the world. As stated on the Economic Freedom Network’s web page,

Economic freedom has been shown in numerous peer-reviewed studies to promote prosperity and other positive outcomes. It is a necessary condition for democratic development. It liberates people from dependence on government in a planned economy, and allows them to make their own economic and political choices.

This year’s results show Hong Kong as having the highest degree of economic freedom. The report also contains extensive country-level data on the components of economic freedom incorporated in the analysis.

This year’s report also has additional chapters that analyze the effects of financial crises on economic freedom and the effects of U.S. government fiscal and monetary policy during recessions on economic freedom. The recession chapter, in particular, provides a concise summary of the unintended but, on balance, deleterious effects of our current fiscal and monetary policy on economic freedom.