Economic Freedom of the World 2017 Annual Report


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The Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report shows that people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer life spans. The cornerstones of economic freedom include personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property

The Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report lists the United States as the 11th freest economy, tying with Canada. The United States' ranking this year shows an overall improvement from previous reports over the last decade. Hong Kong and Singapore again top the index, continuing their streak as 1st and 2nd respectively. New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Georgia, Australia, and Estonia round out the top ten. Venezuela is again ranked as the lowest in economic freedom out of 159 countries and territories.

Notably, this year researchers for the first time were able to adjust the rankings for gender equality. In countries where women are not legally accorded the same level of economic freedom as men, that country receives a lower score. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa were predominantly affected by this adjustment, which resulted in a notable downgrade in their overall summary score.


James Gwartney holds the Gus A. Stavros Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida State University, where he directs the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education. He is a coauthor of Economics: Private and Public Choice (Cengage/South-Western Press), a widely used text on the principles of economics that is now in its twelfth edition. He is also a coauthor of an economics primer, Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know about Wealth and Prosperity (St. Martin’s Press, 2005).

Robert A. Lawson is Associate Professor in the Department of Finance at Auburn University where he is Co-Director of the Center for International Finance and Global Competitiveness and Director of the Economic Freedom Initiative. Professor Lawson has numerous professional publications in journals such as Public Choice, Cato Journal, Kyklos, Journal of Labor Research, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, and European Journal of Political Economy. He has served as president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education and is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Joshua Hall is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Management at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. Formerly an economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress, he has published numerous policy studies and professional publications. Professor Hall’s research has appeared in journals such as the Atlantic Economic Journal, Cato Journal, Journal of Economic Education, and Journal of Labor Research.


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September 21, 2017