This eighth edition of Economic Freedom of the World rates and ranks 123 nations for 2002, the most recent year for which data are available. The report also updates data in earlier reports in instances where data have been revised. The index contains 38 variables, including 18 survey-based variables obtained from survey data published in the International Country Risk Guide and the Global Competitiveness Report. While survey data have weaknesses, they provide insight into the important areas of legal structure and regulation and, to a lesser extent, of international trade.
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.