Index of Economic Freedom

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This article is about the index published by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation. For other indices, see Indices of economic freedom.
The 2014 Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom.

The Index of Economic Freedom is an annual index and ranking created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal in 1995 to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations. The creators of the index took an approach similar to Adam Smith's in The Wealth of Nations, that "basic institutions that protect the liberty of individuals to pursue their own economic interests result in greater prosperity for the larger society".[1][2]

2014[edit]

Key: ██ Free (80-100), ██ Mostly Free (70.0-79.9), ██ Moderately Free (60.0-69.9), ██ Mostly Unfree (50.0-59.9), ██ Repressed (0-49.9).

Country Rank Score Change
 Hong Kong[a] 1 90.1 Increase 0.8
 Singapore 2 89.4 Increase 1.4
 Australia 3 82.0 Decrease 0.6
  Switzerland 4 81.6 Increase 0.6
 New Zealand 5 81.2 Decrease 0.2
 Canada 6 80.2 Increase 0.8
 Chile 7 78.7 Decrease 0.3
 Mauritius 8 76.5 Decrease 0.4
 Ireland 9 76.2 Increase 0.5
 Denmark 10 76.1 Steady 0.0
 Estonia 11 75.9 Increase 0.6
 United States 12 75.5 Decrease 0.5
 Bahrain 13 75.1 Decrease 0.4
 United Kingdom 14 74.9 Increase 0.1
 Netherlands 15 73.5 Increase 0.7
 Luxembourg 16 74.2 Steady 0.0
 Taiwan 17 73.9 Increase 1.2
 Germany 18 73.4 Increase 0.6
 Finland 19 73.4 Increase 1.7
 Sweden 20 73.1 Increase 0.2
 Lithuania 21 73.0 Increase 0.9
 Georgia 22 72.6 Increase 0.4
 Iceland 23 72.4 Increase 0.3
 Austria 24 72.4 Increase 0.6
 Japan 25 72.4 Increase 0.6
 Czech Republic 26 72.2 Increase 1.3
 Botswana 27 72.0 Increase 1.4
 United Arab Emirates 28 71.4 Increase 0.3
 Macau 29 71.3 Decrease 0.4
 Qatar 30 71.2 Decrease 0.1
 South Korea 31 71.2 Increase 0.9
 Norway 32 70.9 Increase 0.4
 Saint Lucia 33 70.7 Increase 0.3
 Colombia 34 70.7 Increase 1.1
 Belgium 35 69.9 Increase 0.7
 The Bahamas 36 69.8 Decrease 0.3
 Malaysia 37 69.6 Increase 3.5
 Uruguay 38 69.3 Decrease 0.4
 Jordan 39 69.2 Decrease 1.2
 Brunei 40 69.0
 Armenia 41 68.9 Increase 0.5
 Latvia 42 68.7 Increase 2.2
 Macedonia 43 68.6 Increase 0.4
 Israel 44 68.4 Increase 1.5
 Barbados 45 68.3 Decrease 0.1
 Cyprus 46 67.6 Decrease 1.4
 Peru 47 67.4 Decrease 0.4
 Oman 48 67.4 Decrease 0.7
 Spain 49 67.2 Decrease 0.8
 Poland 50 67.0 Increase 1.0
 Hungary 51 67.0 Decrease 0.3
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 52 67.0 Increase 0.3
 Costa Rica 53 66.9 Increase 0.1
 Albania 54 66.9 Increase 1.7
 Mexico 55 66.8 Decrease 0.2
 Jamaica 56 66.7 Decrease 0.1
 Slovakia 57 66.4 Decrease 2.3
 Malta 58 66.4 Decrease 1.1
 El Salvador 59 66.2 Decrease 0.5
 Cape Verde 60 66.1 Increase 2.4
 Bulgaria 61 65.7 Increase 0.7
 Romania 62 65.5 Increase 0.4
 Dominica 63 65.2 Increase 1.3
 Turkey 64 64.9 Increase 2.0
 Rwanda 65 64.7 Increase 0.6
 Ghana 66 64.2 Increase 2.9
 Kazakhstan 67 63.7 Increase 0.7
 Montenegro 68 63.6 Decrease 1.0
 Portugal 69 63.5 Increase 0.4
 France 70 63.5 Decrease 0.6
 Panama 71 63.4 Increase 0.9
 Thailand 72 63.3 Decrease 0.8
 Trinidad and Tobago 73 62.7 Increase 0.4
 Slovenia 74 62.7 Increase 0.1
 South Africa 75 62.5 Increase 0.7
 Kuwait 76 62.3 Decrease 0.8
 Saudi Arabia 77 62.2 Increase 1.6
 Paraguay 78 62.0 Increase 0.9
 Madagascar 79 61.7 Decrease 0.3
 Dominican Republic 80 61.3 Increase 1.6
 Azerbaijan 81 61.3 Decrease 1.6
 Swaziland 82 61.2 Increase 4.0
 Guatemala 83 61.2 Increase 1.2
 Samoa 84 61.1 Increase 4.0
 Kyrgyzstan 85 61.1 Increase 1.5
 Italy 86 60.9 Decrease 0.3
 Croatia 87 60.4 Decrease 0.9
 Zambia 88 60.4 Increase 1.7
 Philippines 89 60.1 Increase 1.9
 Sri Lanka 90 60.0 Decrease 0.7
 Uganda 91 59.9 Decrease 1.2
 Gambia 92 59.5 Increase 0.7
 Vanuatu 93 59.5 Increase 2.9
 Namibia 94 59.4 Decrease 0.9
 Serbia 95 59.4 Increase 0.8
 Lebanon 96 59.4 Decrease 0.1
 Mongolia 97 58.9 Decrease 2.8
 Burkina Faso 98 58.9 Decrease 1.0
 Fiji 99 58.7 Increase 1.5
 Indonesia 100 58.5 Increase 1.6
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 101 58.4 Increase 1.1
 Nicaragua 102 58.4 Increase 1.8
 Morocco 103 58.3 Decrease 1.3
 Tonga 104 58.2 Increase 2.2
 Gabon 105 57.8 Steady 0.0
 Tanzania 106 57.8 Decrease 0.1
 Ivory Coast 107 57.7 Increase 3.6
 Cambodia 108 57.4 Decrease 1.1
 Tunisia 109 57.3 Increase 0.3
 Moldova 110 57.3 Increase 1.8
 Kenya 111 57.1 Increase 1.2
 Honduras 112 57.1 Decrease 1.3
 Benin 113 57.1 Decrease 0.5
 Brazil 114 56.9 Decrease 0.8
 Belize 115 56.7 Decrease 0.6
 Bhutan 116 56.7 Increase 1.7
 Seychelles 117 56.2 Increase 1.3
 Djibouti 118 55.9 Increase 2.0
 Greece 119 55.9 Increase 0.3
 India 120 55.7 Increase 0.5
 Guyana 121 55.7 Increase 1.9
 Mali 122 55.5 Decrease 0.9
 Yemen 123 55.5 Decrease 0.4
 Malawi 124 55.4 Increase 0.1
 Senegal 125 55.4 Decrease 0.1
 Pakistan 126 55.2 Increase 0.1
 Niger 127 55.1 Increase 1.2
 Mozambique 128 55.0 Steady 0.0
 Nigeria 129 54.3 Decrease 0.8
 Suriname 130 54.2 Increase 2.2
 Bangladesh 131 54.1 Increase 1.5
 Papua New Guinea 132 53.9 Increase 0.3
 Guinea 133 53.5 Increase 2.3
 Mauritania 134 53.2 Increase 0.9
 Egypt 135 52.9 Decrease 1.9
 Cameroon 136 52.6 Increase 0.3
 China 137 52.5 Increase 0.6
 Liberia 138 52.4 Increase 3.1
 Tajikistan 139 52.0 Decrease 1.4
 Russia 140 51.9 Increase 0.8
 Burundi 141 51.4 Increase 2.4
 Comoros 142 51.4 Increase 3.9
 Guinea-Bissau 143 51.3 Increase 0.2
 Laos 144 51.2 Increase 1.1
 Maldives 145 51.0 Increase 2.0
 Algeria 146 50.8 Increase 1.2
 Vietnam 147 50.8 Decrease 0.2
 Sierra Leone 148 50.5 Increase 2.2
   Nepal 149 50.1 Decrease 0.3
 Belarus 150 50.1 Increase 2.1
 Ethiopia 151 50.0 Increase 0.6
 Togo 152 49.9 Increase 1.1
 Micronesia 153 49.8 Decrease 0.3
 Lesotho 154 49.5 Increase 1.6
 Ukraine 155 49.3 Increase 3.0
 Haiti 156 48.9 Increase 0.8
 São Tomé and Príncipe 157 48.8 Increase 0.8
 Bolivia 158 48.4 Increase 0.5
 Ecuador 159 48.0 Increase 1.1
 Angola 160 47.7 Increase 0.4
 Central African Republic 161 46.7 Decrease 3.7
 Burma 162 46.5 Increase 7.3
 Uzbekistan 163 46.5 Increase 0.5
 Kiribati 164 46.3 Increase 0.4
 Solomon Islands 165 46.2 Increase 1.2
 Argentina 166 46.6 Decrease 2.1
 Chad 167 44.5 Decrease 0.7
 Equatorial Guinea 168 44.4 Increase 2.1
 Republic of Congo 169 43.7 Increase 0.2
 East Timor 170 43.2 Decrease 0.5
 Turkmenistan 171 42.2 Decrease 1.1
 Democratic Republic of Congo 172 40.6 Increase 1.0
 Iran 173 40.3 Decrease 2.9
 Eritrea 174 38.5 Increase 2.2
 Venezuela 175 36.3 Increase 0.2
 Zimbabwe 176 35.5 Increase 6.9
 Cuba 177 28.7 Increase 0.2
 North Korea 178 1.0 Decrease 0.5

2014 ranking with more attributes[edit]

The following table contains more attributes. The whole table is available in XLS format at the Heritage Foundation web site.[3]

Country Name World Rank 2014 Score Property Rights Freedom from Corruption Fiscal Freedom Gov't Spending Business Freedom Labor Freedom Monetary Freedom Trade Freedom Investment Freedom Financial Freedom Gov't Expenditure % of GDP
 Albania 54 66,9 30 30,4 92,7 75,6 78,1 49,7 80,0 87,5 75 70 28,5
 Algeria 146 50,8 30 28,7 80,5 51,0 66,3 48,3 67,8 60,8 45 30 40,4
 Angola 160 47,7 15 17,7 87,7 55,3 47,5 40,1 63,6 70,1 40 40 38,6
 Argentina 166 44,6 15 29,5 63,5 49,9 53,9 44,9 60,0 68,9 30 30 40,9
 Armenia 41 68,9 30 26,7 86,5 81,3 83,1 78,5 77,0 85,5 70 70 25,0
 Australia 3 82,0 90 87,7 64,2 62,6 94,6 79,2 80,5 86,4 85 90 35,3
 Austria 24 72,4 90 75,5 51,0 23,5 76,3 80,5 79,5 87,8 90 70 50,5
 Azerbaijan 81 61,3 20 22,7 88,1 64,8 73,5 77,9 78,8 77,2 60 50 34,2
 Bahamas 36 69,8 70 66,6 97,3 84,1 70,7 81,5 75,1 52,2 30 70 23,0
 Bahrain 13 75,1 60 49,4 99,9 71,4 76,3 82,0 78,4 78,6 75 80 30,9
 Bangladesh 131 54,1 20 23,3 72,5 92,3 70,8 51,9 65,9 59,0 55 30 16,0
 Barbados 45 68,3 80 77,9 74,0 49,8 72,8 78,4 74,6 60,6 55 60 40,9
 Belarus 150 50,1 20 24,6 89,2 61,2 73,4 77,7 33,9 81,4 30 10 36,0
 Belgium 35 69,9 80 74,2 44,8 14,8 89,9 72,7 79,5 87,8 85 70 53,3
 Belize 115 56,7 30 6,7 82,1 74,2 71,6 67,2 77,6 67,8 40 50 29,3
 Benin 113 57,1 30 29,5 68,3 86,1 51,0 50,5 75,4 60,0 70 50 21,5
 Bhutan 116 56,7 60 58,8 82,9 57,2 59,4 83,6 65,8 49,4 20 30 37,8
 Bolivia 158 48,4 10 28,1 87,1 62,5 53,4 29,9 70,0 77,6 15 50 35,4
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 101 58,4 20 33,9 82,9 27,4 55,5 62,4 80,1 86,9 75 60 49,2
 Botswana 27 72,0 70 61,2 81,0 69,8 68,5 69,7 72,4 82,7 75 70 31,8
 Brazil 114 56,9 50 37,9 68,8 54,1 53,8 49,8 69,9 69,3 55 60 39,1
 Bulgaria 61 65,7 30 35,2 91,2 64,5 73,5 80,2 79,6 87,8 55 60 34,4
 Burkina Faso 98 58,9 30 31,3 83,0 82,3 60,7 55,0 78,8 67,8 60 40 24,3
 Burma 162 46,5 10 11,6 86,9 89,2 28,3 75,7 64,8 73,6 15 10 19,0
 Burundi 141 51,4 20 15,9 73,5 51,9 59,8 63,1 68,2 71,8 60 30 40,0
 Cambodia 108 57,4 30 18,7 90,8 88,4 36,6 50,2 77,9 71,0 60 50 19,6
 Cameroon 136 52,6 30 21,9 71,7 86,0 45,0 56,1 69,4 61,2 35 50 21,6
 Canada 6 80,2 90 87,7 79,7 47,3 89,3 83,1 76,3 88,3 80 80 41,9
 Cape Verde 60 66,1 70 54,9 77,4 68,6 63,8 48,0 79,1 69,6 70 60 32,3
 Central African Republic 161 46,7 10 20,6 65,1 92,6 33,9 40,4 72,5 51,8 50 30 15,7
 Chad 167 44,5 20 15,9 46,2 80,0 24,9 43,3 69,8 55,2 50 40 25,8
 Chile 7 78,7 90 72,3 76,5 83,8 69,3 69,3 84,1 82,0 90 70 23,2
 China 137 52,5 20 35,0 69,9 82,9 49,7 61,9 73,3 71,8 30 30 23,9
 Colombia 34 70,7 50 33,2 80,6 74,9 85,2 80,5 78,8 78,8 75 70 28,9
 Comoros 142 51,4 30 22,1 64,5 85,3 49,4 50,1 74,5 72,7 35 30 22,1
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 172 40,6 10 17,6 69,4 74,6 30,0 38,5 63,0 63,0 20 20 29,1
 Republic of the Congo 169 43,7 10 20,6 67,5 79,6 35,1 47,0 72,0 55,6 20 30 26,1
 Costa Rica 53 66,9 50 50,9 80,0 90,0 64,9 53,3 76,3 83,8 70 50 18,2
 Côte d'Ivoire 107 57,7 30 22,1 79,1 79,8 55,1 59,0 80,6 71,4 50 50 25,9
 Croatia 87 60,4 40 41,1 69,4 45,8 61,4 39,4 79,2 87,4 80 60 42,5
 Cuba 177 28,7 10 41,2 60,0 0,0 20,0 20,0 65,8 60,0 0 10 66,7
 Cyprus 46 67,6 70 64,0 79,7 36,2 79,7 70,2 78,8 82,8 65 50 46,1
 Czech Republic 26 72,2 70 45,3 81,7 43,8 70,1 84,0 79,4 87,8 80 80 43,3
 Denmark 10 76,1 90 93,7 39,3 0,5 98,1 91,2 80,0 87,8 90 90 57,6
 Djibouti 118 55,9 30 30,9 80,6 62,8 42,7 65,1 77,2 54,8 65 50 35,2
 Dominica 63 65,2 60 53,5 72,9 61,7 75,0 70,7 85,8 72,7 70 30 35,7
 Dominican Republic 80 61,3 30 27,3 83,7 92,3 56,1 55,2 75,7 77,8 75 40 16,1
 Ecuador 159 48,0 20 26,0 79,8 41,8 52,8 52,0 66,1 71,8 30 40 44,0
 Egypt 135 52,9 20 28,6 85,6 69,6 62,7 45,7 60,5 71,4 45 40 31,8
 El Salvador 59 66,2 40 34,3 79,6 85,8 59,6 63,3 80,0 79,0 70 70 21,7
 Equatorial Guinea 168 44,4 10 16,6 75,5 62,6 43,4 41,5 75,4 53,8 35 30 35,3
 Eritrea 174 38,5 10 22,9 57,0 66,1 18,6 63,6 57,6 69,1 0 20 33,6
 Estonia 11 75,9 90 64,2 80,4 56,0 77,6 55,9 76,9 87,8 90 80 38,3
 Ethiopia 151 50,0 30 27,0 77,5 89,9 57,8 54,7 59,0 64,2 20 20 18,4
 Fiji 99 58,7 25 20,0 82,3 76,2 64,9 73,1 75,2 70,2 50 50 28,2
 Finland 19 73,4 90 93,4 65,1 8,9 93,6 46,5 78,9 87,8 90 80 55,1
 France 70 63,5 80 69,9 48,4 5,6 79,9 51,8 76,1 82,8 70 70 56,1
 Gabon 105 57,8 40 29,1 74,5 81,7 58,9 63,0 75,1 61,0 55 40 24,7
 Gambia 92 59,5 30 31,7 79,0 79,8 57,4 65,8 71,3 65,0 65 50 26,0
 Georgia 22 72,6 40 42,8 87,3 69,7 87,8 91,2 78,4 88,6 80 60 31,8
 Germany 18 73,4 90 80,1 61,2 38,2 89,9 46,4 80,8 87,8 90 70 45,4
 Ghana 66 64,2 50 40,4 85,4 83,3 62,6 60,2 65,8 64,8 70 60 23,6
 Greece 119 55,7 40 33,2 65,9 19,2 75,8 53,9 76,3 82,8 60 50 51,9
 Guatemala 83 61,2 25 28,7 79,6 93,6 58,4 49,3 76,7 85,4 65 50 14,6
 Guinea 133 53,5 20 19,2 69,3 86,2 51,8 73,4 64,1 61,2 50 40 21,5
 Guinea-Bissau 143 51,3 20 20,2 89,0 86,6 40,5 61,4 74,4 61,4 30 30 21,2
 Guyana 121 55,7 30 24,4 68,4 71,8 64,3 72,6 78,1 72,0 45 30 30,6
 Haiti 156 48,9 10 16,9 80,3 66,3 33,3 68,5 73,6 70,4 40 30 33,5
 Honduras 112 57,1 30 23,7 84,9 79,8 55,4 26,5 75,1 75,4 60 60 25,9
 Hong Kong 1 90,1 90 82,3 93,0 89,7 98,9 95,5 82,0 90,0 90 90 18,5
 Hungary 51 67,0 60 48,6 81,1 26,8 79,3 65,7 75,6 87,8 75 70 49,4
 Iceland 23 72,4 90 84,2 72,9 32,9 91,2 59,1 76,0 87,9 70 60 47,3
 India 120 55,7 50 31,5 79,4 77,8 37,7 74,0 65,5 65,6 35 40 27,2
 Indonesia 100 58,5 30 28,0 83,4 89,8 54,8 47,8 76,4 74,8 40 60 18,5
 Iran 173 40,3 10 23,4 80,6 85,9 62,3 41,7 47,3 41,4 0 10 21,7
 Ireland 9 76,2 90 74,8 74,0 30,6 83,4 79,5 81,7 87,8 90 70 48,1
 Israel 44 68,4 75 59,3 60,1 40,3 73,2 63,0 80,6 82,9 80 70 44,6
 Italy 86 60,9 50 38,5 55,5 25,6 75,5 52,5 78,9 87,8 85 60 49,8
 Jamaica 56 66,7 40 33,0 77,2 69,4 84,6 75,6 77,3 75,1 85 50 31,9
 Japan 25 72,4 80 77,8 69,2 47,1 80,0 79,8 87,5 82,4 70 50 42,0
 Jordan 39 69,2 60 45,6 94,0 66,9 62,0 72,9 81,3 79,6 70 60 33,2
 Kazakhstan 67 63,7 30 25,7 92,9 85,0 74,4 86,7 74,4 78,2 40 50 22,3
 Kenya 111 57,1 30 21,0 78,0 74,6 55,8 64,0 74,9 72,8 50 50 29,1
 Kiribati 164 46,3 30 29,2 71,4 0,0 57,0 83,6 81,3 55,4 25 30 91,8
 Korea, North 178 1,0 5 5,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0 0 N/A
 Korea, South 31 71,2 70 54,0 72,6 72,6 92,8 47,8 79,6 72,6 70 80 30,2
 Kuwait 76 62,3 50 43,7 97,7 55,6 57,7 63,6 73,2 76,7 55 50 38,5
 Kyrgyzstan 85 61,1 20 19,2 94,6 60,2 74,2 83,8 73,7 75,2 60 50 36,4
 Laos 144 51,2 15 18,6 86,6 86,7 60,7 54,9 75,5 58,6 35 20 21,0
 Latvia 42 68,7 50 43,6 84,6 54,9 82,5 68,5 79,7 87,8 85 50 38,8
 Lebanon 96 59,4 20 24,5 90,9 73,7 55,6 58,7 74,5 75,8 60 60 29,6
 Lesotho 154 49,5 40 37,1 67,4 0,0 54,0 62,4 75,5 68,6 50 40 63,1
 Liberia 138 52,4 30 33,8 83,6 70,5 62,3 47,0 72,9 64,1 40 20 31,4
 Lithuania 21 73,0 60 49,9 92,9 55,9 85,7 59,0 78,6 87,8 80 80 38,3
 Luxembourg 16 74,2 90 84,1 62,8 47,6 72,6 43,1 78,9 87,8 95 80 41,8
 Macau 29 71,3 60 49,7 71,4 91,7 60,0 55,0 79,8 90,0 85 70 16,6
 Macedonia 43 68,6 35 39,6 91,4 70,7 81,0 78,8 83,5 85,9 60 60 31,3
 Madagascar 79 61,7 40 27,3 90,8 92,3 62,8 43,9 77,6 77,8 55 50 16,0
 Malawi 124 55,4 45 31,9 78,0 63,0 38,9 60,3 64,1 72,7 50 50 35,1
 Malaysia 37 69,6 55 44,3 84,6 75,6 85,6 78,5 81,0 76,4 55 60 28,5
 Maldives 145 51,0 20 21,9 97,4 43,8 87,4 71,7 69,4 43,8 25 30 43,3
 Mali 122 55,5 20 27,7 69,8 81,7 48,0 63,2 76,7 73,2 55 40 24,7
 Malta 58 66,4 75 55,8 63,7 47,2 62,4 53,2 79,1 87,8 80 60 42,0
 Mauritania 134 53,2 25 23,9 81,7 75,8 38,0 53,1 75,5 69,0 50 40 28,4
 Mauritius 8 76,5 65 53,4 92,2 81,8 74,4 78,0 76,7 88,6 85 70 24,7
 Mexico 55 66,8 50 29,7 80,9 78,9 76,8 58,3 77,4 85,6 70 60 26,6
 Micronesia 153 49,8 30 30,0 97,5 0,0 51,7 77,9 75,2 81,0 25 30 65,3
 Moldova 110 57,3 40 29,5 85,8 54,4 70,1 37,9 75,0 80,1 50 50 39,0
 Mongolia 97 58,9 30 28,2 81,8 39,1 71,8 81,1 72,4 74,7 50 60 45,1
 Montenegro 68 63,6 40 37,8 92,5 42,6 77,6 68,6 78,6 83,1 65 50 43,8
 Morocco 103 58,3 40 33,3 71,3 64,1 76,2 31,5 78,1 58,8 70 60 34,6
 Mozambique 128 55,0 30 26,2 75,7 64,6 65,2 36,7 80,8 75,5 45 50 34,4
 Namibia 94 59,4 30 44,2 66,9 58,8 64,4 81,9 75,0 82,9 50 40 37,0
   Nepal 149 50,1 30 21,3 85,9 89,6 58,5 43,8 76,3 61,0 5 30 18,6
 Netherlands 15 74,2 90 88,0 51,7 25,6 89,7 59,6 79,9 87,8 90 80 49,8
 New Zealand 5 81,2 95 94,0 71,2 32,3 96,1 90,2 86,3 86,8 80 80 47,5
 Nicaragua 102 58,4 15 24,1 78,6 80,0 52,6 60,3 72,8 85,4 65 50 25,8
 Niger 127 55,1 30 26,0 76,8 88,4 35,2 45,4 88,3 65,6 55 40 19,6
 Nigeria 129 54,3 30 22,7 85,0 74,5 48,0 66,4 73,1 63,8 40 40 29,2
 Norway 32 70,9 90 88,1 50,6 42,2 90,9 44,6 78,7 89,1 75 60 43,9
 Oman 48 67,4 50 48,2 98,5 56,0 68,3 75,5 73,6 78,7 65 60 38,3
 Pakistan 126 55,2 30 22,7 80,6 88,3 69,4 47,3 68,5 64,8 40 40 19,8
 Panama 71 63,4 30 34,0 84,3 78,7 73,0 39,4 75,1 74,2 75 70 26,6
 Papua New Guinea 132 53,9 20 20,2 66,7 75,4 57,0 73,7 75,5 85,1 35 30 28,6
 Paraguay 78 62,0 30 20,5 96,2 89,0 58,0 28,9 80,9 81,1 75 60 19,1
 Peru 47 67,4 40 34,0 79,1 89,1 70,6 61,4 83,3 87,0 70 60 19,1
 Philippines 89 60,1 30 26,1 79,2 92,3 59,9 49,7 78,0 75,5 60 50 16,0
 Poland 50 67,0 60 54,8 76,1 43,2 70,1 60,4 77,8 87,8 70 70 43,5
 Portugal 69 63,5 70 61,1 60,1 26,8 84,9 34,6 79,3 87,8 70 60 49,4
 Qatar 30 71,2 70 72,4 99,9 72,1 71,7 70,0 81,2 79,8 45 50 30,5
 Romania 62 65,5 40 37,7 87,0 59,2 71,0 65,2 77,1 87,8 80 50 36,9
 Russia 140 51,9 25 22,1 85,6 61,5 70,0 55,8 69,4 74,6 25 30 35,8
 Rwanda 65 64,7 30 46,9 80,3 78,2 69,6 84,1 74,8 77,7 65 40 27,0
 Saint Lucia 33 70,7 70 70,6 75,7 63,6 83,1 84,5 82,7 71,9 65 40 34,8
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 52 67,0 70 61,1 73,7 72,4 76,3 78,7 79,8 67,6 50 40 30,3
 Samoa 84 61,1 60 38,0 79,9 42,2 73,7 80,3 76,1 75,8 55 30 43,9
 São Tomé and Príncipe 157 48,8 20 32,5 86,9 27,9 52,6 44,7 68,3 75,3 50 30 49,0
 Saudi Arabia 77 62,2 40 43,7 99,7 63,1 67,3 75,8 68,7 74,0 40 50 35,1
 Senegal 125 55,4 40 29,5 65,1 75,4 47,5 41,5 81,8 73,2 60 40 28,6
 Serbia 95 59,4 40 34,0 83,1 38,6 59,3 70,1 66,9 77,0 75 50 45,2
 Seychelles 117 56,2 50 48,5 76,8 61,8 67,6 68,5 75,1 33,4 50 30 35,7
 Sierra Leone 148 50,5 15 24,6 80,7 85,7 55,3 28,7 70,2 70,2 55 20 21,9
 Singapore 2 89,4 90 91,9 91,2 91,2 96,8 96,5 81,5 90,0 85 80 17,1
 Slovakia 57 66,4 50 41,8 80,2 56,0 67,0 53,6 78,1 87,8 80 70 38,3
 Slovenia 74 62,7 60 61,0 58,9 22,6 85,4 51,0 80,3 87,8 70 50 50,8
 Solomon Islands 165 46,2 30 25,0 61,4 21,3 65,2 65,2 75,4 73,0 15 30 51,2
 South Africa 75 62,5 50 41,6 68,7 69,1 74,5 54,4 75,3 76,1 55 60 32,1
 Spain 49 67,2 70 62,6 54,0 38,7 77,3 52,2 79,9 87,8 80 70 45,2
 Sri Lanka 90 60,0 40 33,4 84,9 86,3 74,4 59,2 68,0 73,6 40 40 21,4
 Suriname 130 54,2 40 32,9 69,0 78,3 41,8 81,8 71,8 66,2 30 30 26,9
 Swaziland 82 61,2 40 31,6 74,7 70,9 64,2 71,7 72,3 81,5 65 40 31,2
 Sweden 20 73,1 90 92,3 42,9 21,4 91,1 52,9 82,5 87,8 90 80 51,2
  Switzerland 4 81,6 90 88,1 68,9 65,7 75,4 87,4 85,2 90,0 85 80 33,8
 Taiwan 17 73,9 70 59,7 80,3 84,7 93,9 53,1 81,7 85,8 70 60 22,6
 Tajikistan 139 52,0 20 19,4 92,3 78,1 58,4 45,5 67,7 73,2 25 40 27,0
 Tanzania 106 57,8 30 28,8 79,7 78,3 47,0 61,1 66,0 76,8 60 50 26,9
 Thailand 72 63,3 45 33,6 79,7 83,6 71,4 61,6 68,6 75,0 45 70 23,4
 Timor-Leste 170 43,2 20 25,4 64,7 0,0 45,4 79,2 68,3 64,4 45 20 139,7
 Togo 152 49,9 30 23,8 69,7 82,4 43,3 42,8 79,3 62,8 35 30 24,2
 Tonga 104 58,2 20 28,6 86,7 74,8 74,6 91,2 71,3 79,5 35 20 29,0
 Trinidad and Tobago 73 62,7 50 34,0 84,8 62,5 59,4 76,4 71,7 78,6 60 50 35,4
 Tunisia 109 57,3 40 39,2 74,3 63,8 80,7 72,6 75,9 61,8 35 30 34,8
 Turkey 64 64,9 50 44,0 77,5 63,5 67,6 59,7 71,8 84,5 70 60 34,9
 Turkmenistan 171 42,2 5 13,4 95,2 93,0 30,0 30,0 65,9 79,2 0 10 15,2
 Uganda 91 59,9 30 23,8 79,1 87,3 45,1 87,4 71,0 75,4 60 40 20,6
 Ukraine 155 49,3 30 21,9 79,1 37,5 59,8 49,8 78,7 86,2 20 30 45,6
 United Arab Emirates 28 71,4 55 66,4 99,6 83,1 74,4 82,9 84,6 82,5 35 50 23,7
 United Kingdom 14 74,9 90 76,4 56,6 29,5 92,0 73,1 73,5 87,8 90 80 48,5
 United States 12 75,5 80 72,0 65,8 48,1 89,2 97,2 75,4 86,8 70 70 41,6
 Uruguay 38 69,3 70 70,6 77,4 68,0 74,5 68,1 72,1 82,5 80 30 32,6
 Uzbekistan 163 46,5 15 13,4 90,3 70,4 75,7 60,8 63,1 66,1 0 10 31,4
 Vanuatu 93 59,5 40 33,5 97,3 81,7 54,8 56,8 82,7 48,0 60 40 24,7
 Venezuela 175 36,3 5 16,5 75,3 51,8 43,4 33,7 49,7 62,7 5 20 40,1
 Vietnam 147 50,8 15 26,9 77,0 71,4 62,0 68,3 63,6 78,7 15 30 30,9
 Yemen 123 55,5 30 19,4 91,7 74,9 59,2 54,9 62,1 82,4 50 30 28,9
 Zambia 88 60,4 30 31,3 71,8 82,9 74,9 50,1 68,0 84,6 60 50 23,9
 Zimbabwe 176 35,5 10 19,3 63,3 64,0 34,5 22,2 73,0 54,2 5 10 34,6
 Brunei Darussalam 40 69,0 40 53,3 90,2 66,1 68,2 96,5 74,2 81,8 70 50 33,6

2012 and 2013 rankings[edit]

Key: ██ Free (80-100), ██ Mostly Free (70.0-79.9), ██ Moderately Free (60.0-69.9), ██ Mostly Unfree (50.0-59.9), ██ Repressed (0-49.9).

  2013 2012
Country Rank Score[4] Change Rank Score[5] Change
 Hong Kong[a] 1 89.3 Decrease 0.6 1 89.9 Increase 0.2
 Singapore 2 88.0 Increase 0.5 2 87.5 Increase 0.3
 Australia 3 82.6 Decrease 0.5 3 83.1 Increase 0.6
 New Zealand 4 81.4 Decrease 0.7 4 82.1 Decrease 0.2
  Switzerland 5 81.0 Decrease 0.1 5 81.1 Decrease 0.8
 Canada 6 79.4 Decrease 0.5 6 79.9 Decrease 0.9
 Chile 7 79.0 Increase 0.7 7 78.3 Increase 0.9
 Mauritius 8 76.9 Decrease 0.1 8 77.0 Increase 0.8
 Denmark 9 76.1 Decrease 0.1 11 76.2 Decrease 2.4
 United States 10 76.0 Decrease 0.3 10 76.3 Decrease 1.5
 Ireland 11 75.7 Decrease 1.2 9 76.9 Decrease 1.8
 Bahrain 12 75.5 Increase 0.3 12 75.2 Decrease 2.5
 Estonia 13 75.3 Increase 2.1 16 73.2 Decrease 0.2
 United Kingdom 14 74.8 Increase 0.7 14 74.1 Decrease 0.4
 Luxembourg 15 74.2 Decrease 0.3 13 74.5 Decrease 1.7
 Finland 16 74.0 Increase 1.7 17 72.3 Decrease 1.7
 Netherlands 17 73.5 Increase 0.2 15 73.3 Decrease 1.4
 Sweden 18 72.9 Increase 1.2 21 71.7 Decrease 0.2
 Germany 19 72.8 Increase 1.8 26 71.0 Decrease 0.8
 Taiwan 20 72.7 Increase 0.8 18 71.9 Increase 1.1
 Georgia 21 72.2 Increase 2.8 34 69.4 Decrease 0.1
 Lithuania 22 72.1 Increase 0.6 23 71.5 Increase 0.2
 Iceland 23 72.1 Increase 1.2 27 70.9 Increase 2.7
 Japan 24 71.8 Increase 0.2 22 71.6 Decrease 1.2
 Austria 25 71.8 Increase 1.5 28 70.3 Decrease 1.6
 Macau[a] 26 71.7 Decrease 0.1 19 71.8 Decrease 1.3
 Qatar 27 71.3 Steady 0.0 25 71.3 Increase 0.8
 United Arab Emirates 28 71.1 Increase 1.8 35 69.3 Increase 1.5
 Czech Republic 29 70.9 Increase 1.0 30 69.9 Decrease 0.5
 Botswana 30 70.6 Increase 1.0 33 69.6 Increase 0.8
 Norway 31 70.5 Increase 1.7 40 68.8 Decrease 1.5
 Saint Lucia 32 70.4 Decrease 0.9 24 71.3 Increase 0.5
 Jordan 33 70.4 Increase 0.5 32 69.9 Increase 1.0
 South Korea 34 70.3 Increase 0.4 31 69.9 Increase 0.1
 Bahamas 35 70.1 Increase 2.1 46 68.0 Steady 0.0
 Uruguay 36 69.7 Decrease 0.2 29 69.9 Decrease 0.1
 Colombia 37 69.6 Increase 1.6 45 68.0 Steady 0.0
 Armenia 38 69.4 Increase 0.6 39 68.8 Decrease 0.9
 Barbados 39 69.3 Increase 0.3 37 69.0 Increase 0.5
 Belgium 40 69.2 Increase 0.2 38 69.0 Decrease 1.2
 Cyprus 41 69.0 Decrease 2.8 20 71.8 Decrease 1.5
 Slovakia 42 68.7 Increase 1.7 51 67.0 Decrease 2.5
 Macedonia 43 68.2 Decrease 0.3 43 68.5 Increase 2.5
 Peru 44 68.2 Decrease 0.5 42 68.7 Increase 0.1
 Oman 45 68.1 Increase 0.2 47 67.9 Decrease 1.9
 Spain 46 68.0 Decrease 1.1 36 69.1 Decrease 1.1
 Malta 47 67.5 Increase 0.5 50 67.0 Increase 1.3
 Hungary 48 67.3 Increase 0.2 49 67.1 Increase 0.5
 Costa Rica 49 67.0 Decrease 1.0 44 68.0 Increase 0.7
 Mexico 50 67.0 Increase 1.7 54 65.3 Decrease 2.5
 Israel 51 66.9 Decrease 0.9 48 67.8 Decrease 0.7
 Jamaica 52 66.8 Increase 1.7 58 65.1 Decrease 0.6
 El Salvador 53 66.7 Decrease 2.0 41 68.7 Decrease 0.1
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 54 66.7 Increase 0.2 52 66.5 Decrease 0.4
 Latvia 55 66.5 Increase 1.3 56 65.2 Decrease 0.6
 Malaysia 56 66.1 Decrease 0.3 53 66.4 Increase 0.1
 Poland 57 66.0 Increase 1.8 64 64.2 Increase 0.1
 Albania 58 65.2 Increase 0.1 57 65.1 Increase 1.1
 Romania 59 65.1 Increase 0.7 62 64.4 Decrease 0.3
 Bulgaria 60 65.0 Increase 0.3 61 64.7 Decrease 0.2
 Thailand 61 64.1 Decrease 0.8 60 64.9 Increase 0.2
 France 62 64.1 Increase 0.9 67 63.2 Decrease 1.4
 Rwanda 63 64.1 Decrease 0.8 59 64.9 Increase 2.2
 Dominica 64 63.9 Increase 2.3 80 61.6 Decrease 1.7
 Cape Verde 65 63.7 Increase 0.2 66 63.5 Decrease 1.1
 Kuwait 66 63.1 Increase 0.6 71 62.5 Decrease 2.4
 Portugal 67 63.1 Increase 0.1 68 63.0 Decrease 1.0
 Kazakhstan 68 63.0 Decrease 0.6 65 63.6 Increase 1.5
 Turkey 69 62.9 Increase 0.4 73 62.5 Decrease 1.7
 Montenegro 70 62.6 Increase 0.1 72 62.5 Steady 0.0
 Panama 71 62.5 Decrease 2.7 55 65.2 Increase 0.3
 Trinidad and Tobago 72 62.3 Decrease 2.1 63 64.4 Decrease 2.1
 Madagascar 73 62.0 Decrease 0.4 75 62.4 Increase 1.2
 South Africa 74 61.8 Decrease 0.9 70 62.7 Steady 0.0
 Mongolia 75 61.7 Increase 0.2 81 61.5 Increase 2.0
 Slovenia 76 61.7 Decrease 1.2 69 62.9 Decrease 1.7
 Ghana 77 61.3 Increase 0.6 84 60.7 Increase 1.3
 Croatia 78 61.3 Increase 0.4 83 60.9 Decrease 0.2
 Uganda 79 61.1 Decrease 0.8 78 61.9 Increase 0.2
 Paraguay 80 61.1 Decrease 0.7 79 61.8 Decrease 0.5
 Sri Lanka 81 60.7 Increase 2.4 97 58.3 Increase 1.2
 Saudi Arabia 82 60.6 Decrease 1.9 74 62.5 Decrease 3.7
 Italy 83 60.6 Increase 1.8 92 58.8 Decrease 1.5
 Namibia 84 60.3 Decrease 1.6 76 61.9 Decrease 0.8
 Guatemala 85 60.0 Decrease 0.9 82 60.9 Decrease 1.0
 Burkina Faso 86 59.9 Decrease 0.7 85 60.6 Steady 0.0
 Dominican Republic 87 59.7 Decrease 0.5 89 60.2 Increase 0.2
 Azerbaijan 88 59.7 Increase 0.8 91 58.9 Decrease 0.8
 Kyrgyz Republic 89 59.6 Decrease 0.6 88 60.2 Decrease 0.9
 Morocco 90 59.6 Decrease 0.6 87 60.2 Increase 0.6
 Lebanon 91 59.5 Decrease 0.6 90 60.1 Steady 0.0
 The Gambia 92 58.8 Steady 0.0 94 58.8 Increase 1.4
 Zambia 93 58.7 Increase 0.4 96 58.3 Decrease 1.4
 Serbia 94 58.6 Increase 0.6 98 58.0 Steady 0.0
 Cambodia 95 58.5 Increase 0.9 102 57.6 Decrease 0.3
 Honduras 96 58.4 Decrease 0.4 93 58.8 Increase 0.2
 Philippines 97 58.2 Increase 1.1 107 57.1 Increase 0.9
 Tanzania 98 57.9 Increase 0.9 110 57.0 Steady 0.0
 Gabon 99 57.8 Increase 1.4 113 56.4 Decrease 0.3
 Brazil 100 57.7 Decrease 0.2 99 57.9 Increase 1.6
 Benin 101 57.6 Increase 1.9 118 55.7 Decrease 0.3
 Belize 102 57.3 Decrease 4.6 77 61.9 Decrease 1.9
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 103 57.3 Steady 0.0 104 57.3 Decrease 0.2
 Swaziland 104 57.2 Steady 0.0 106 57.2 Decrease 1.9
 Fiji 105 57.2 Decrease 0.1 105 57.3 Decrease 3.1
 Samoa 106 57.1 Decrease 3.4 86 60.5 Decrease 0.1
 Tunisia 107 57.0 Decrease 1.6 95 58.6 Increase 0.1
 Indonesia 108 56.9 Increase 0.5 115 56.4 Increase 0.4
 Vanuatu 109 56.6 Steady 0.0 112 56.6 Decrease 0.1
 Nicaragua 110 56.6 Decrease 1.3 101 57.9 Decrease 0.9
 Mali 111 56.4 Increase 0.6 117 55.8 Decrease 0.5
 Tonga 112 56.0 Decrease 1.0 109 57.0 Increase 1.2
 Yemen 113 55.9 Increase 0.6 121 55.3 Increase 1.1
 Kenya 114 55.9 Decrease 1.6 103 57.5 Increase 0.1
 Moldova 115 55.5 Increase 1.1 124 54.4 Decrease 1.3
 Senegal 116 55.5 Increase 0.1 120 55.4 Decrease 0.3
 Greece 117 55.4 Steady 0.0 119 55.4 Decrease 4.9
 Malawi 118 55.3 Decrease 1.1 114 56.4 Increase 0.6
 India 119 55.2 Increase 0.6 123 54.6 Steady 0.0
 Nigeria 120 55.1 Decrease 1.2 116 56.3 Decrease 0.4
 Pakistan 121 55.1 Increase 0.4 122 54.7 Decrease 0.4
 Bhutan 122 55.0 Decrease 1.6 111 56.6 Decrease 1.0
 Mozambique 123 55.0 Decrease 2.1 108 57.1 Decrease 0.3
 Seychelles 124 54.9 Increase 1.9 132 53.0 Increase 1.8
 Egypt 125 54.8 Decrease 3.1 100 57.9 Decrease 1.2
 Ivory Coast 126 54.1 Decrease 0.2 126 54.3 Decrease 1.1
 Djibouti 127 53.9 Steady 0.0 127 53.9 Decrease 0.6
 Niger 128 53.9 Decrease 0.4 125 54.3 Steady 0.0
 Guyana 129 53.8 Increase 2.5 137 51.3 Increase 0.9
 Papua New Guinea 130 53.6 Decrease 0.2 128 53.8 Increase 1.2
 Tajikistan 131 53.4 Steady 0.0 129 53.4 Decrease 0.1
 Bangladesh 132 52.6 Decrease 0.6 130 53.2 Increase 0.2
 Cameroon 133 52.3 Increase 0.5 135 51.8 Steady 0.0
 Mauritania 134 52.3 Decrease 0.7 131 53.0 Increase 0.9
 Suriname 135 52.0 Decrease 0.6 133 52.6 Decrease 0.5
 China 136 51.9 Increase 0.7 138 51.2 Decrease 0.8
 Guinea 137 51.2 Increase 0.4 141 50.8 Decrease 0.9
 Syria 139 51.2 Decrease 0.1
 Guinea-Bissau 138 51.1 Increase 1.0 149 50.1 Increase 3.6
 Russia 139 51.1 Increase 0.6 144 50.5 Steady 0.0
 Vietnam 140 51.0 Decrease 0.3 136 51.3 Decrease 0.3
   Nepal 141 50.4 Increase 0.2 147 50.2 Increase 0.1
 Central African Republic 142 50.4 Increase 0.1 145 50.3 Increase 1.0
 Micronesia 143 50.1 Decrease 0.6 143 50.7 Increase 0.4
 Laos 144 50.1 Increase 0.1 150 50.0 Decrease 1.3
 Algeria 145 49.6 Decrease 1.4 140 51.0 Decrease 1.4
 Ethiopia 146 49.4 Decrease 2.6 134 52.0 Increase 1.5
 Liberia 147 49.3 Increase 0.7 154 48.6 Increase 2.1
 Burundi 148 49.0 Increase 0.9 157 48.1 Decrease 1.5
 Maldives 149 49.0 Decrease 0.2 151 49.2 Increase 0.9
 Togo 150 48.8 Increase 0.5 155 48.3 Decrease 0.8
 Sierra Leone 151 48.3 Decrease 0.8 152 49.1 Decrease 0.5
 Haiti 152 48.1 Decrease 2.6 142 50.7 Decrease 1.4
 São Tomé and Príncipe 153 48.0 Decrease 2.2 148 50.2 Increase 0.7
 Belarus 154 48.0 Decrease 1.0 153 49.0 Increase 1.1
 Lesotho 155 47.9 Increase 1.3 161 46.6 Decrease 0.9
 Bolivia 156 47.9 Decrease 2.3 146 50.2 Increase 0.2
 Comoros 157 47.5 Increase 1.8 165 45.7 Increase 1.9
 Angola 158 47.3 Increase 0.6 160 46.7 Increase 0.5
 Ecuador 159 46.9 Decrease 1.4 156 48.3 Increase 1.2
 Argentina 160 46.7 Decrease 1.3 158 48.0 Decrease 3.7
 Ukraine 161 46.3 Increase 0.2 163 46.1 Increase 0.3
 Uzbekistan 162 46.0 Increase 0.2 164 45.8 Steady 0.0
 Kiribati 163 45.9 Decrease 1.0 159 46.9 Increase 2.1
 Chad 164 45.2 Increase 0.4 166 44.8 Decrease 0.5
 Solomon Islands 165 45.0 Decrease 1.2 162 46.2 Increase 0.3
 East Timor 166 43.7 Increase 0.4 169 43.3 Increase 0.5
 Republic of the Congo 167 43.5 Decrease 0.3 167 43.8 Increase 0.2
 Iran 168 43.2 Increase 0.9 171 42.3 Increase 0.2
 Turkmenistan 169 42.6 Decrease 1.2 168 43.8 Increase 0.2
 Equatorial Guinea 170 42.3 Decrease 0.5 170 42.8 Decrease 4.7
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 171 39.6 Decrease 1.5 172 41.1 Increase 0.4
 Myanmar 172 39.2 Increase 0.5 173 38.7 Increase 0.9
 Eritrea 173 36.3 Increase 0.1 175 36.2 Decrease 0.5
 Venezuela 174 36.1 Decrease 2.0 174 38.1 Increase 0.5
 Libya 176 35.9 Decrease 2.7
 Zimbabwe 175 28.6 Increase 2.3 178 26.3 Increase 4.2
 Cuba 176 28.5 Increase 0.2 177 28.3 Increase 0.6
 North Korea 177 1.5 Increase 0.5 179 1.0 Steady 0.0

Historical rankings (1995–2008)[edit]

Country/Region 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995
 Hong Kong[a] 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
 Singapore 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 Ireland 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 3 10 11 11 13 27 20
 Australia 4 4 7 9 8 10 11 8 5 5 7 9 10 8
 United States 5 6 5 5 7 7 8 6 8 7 8 8 5 4
 New Zealand 6 5 4 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3
 Canada 7 10 10 12 12 13 14 21 20 25 27 26 20 18
 Chile 8 8 8 8 11 12 9 12 12 12 9 7 13 14
  Switzerland 9 9 9 6 5 6 6 10 6 4 4 4 4
 United Kingdom 10 7 6 7 9 9 7 7 4 6 5 5 7 3
 Denmark 11 12 13 13 17 20 23 33 33 32 34 30 31
 Estonia 12 11 15 14 10 8 10 9 24 13 15 24 38 26
 Netherlands 13 15 16 18 14 14 14 16 21 57 24 20 23
 Iceland 14 13 11 10 19 16 19 15 15 19 18 19
 Luxembourg 15 14 12 11 6 5 5 5 7 15 13 12 15
 Finland 16 16 17 21 16 15 16 27 50 54 55 39 47
 Japan 17 18 18 36 50 34 39 23 19 27 21 21 14 6
 Mauritius 18 32 35 35 51 52 33 45 36 20
 Bahrain 19 24 23 22 13 11 12 11 11 8 6 6 6 5
 Belgium 20 17 24 30 30 33 34 57 55 60 48 44 36
 Barbados 21 27 20 24 28 23 17 20 27 37 33 46 53
 Cyprus 22 20 21 20 15 19 20 22 35 33 29 27 30
 Germany 23 22 25 28 27 26 25 29 43 40 52 29 25 17
 The Bahamas 24 19 19 15 20 17 15 14 16 10 10 10 11 11
 Taiwan 25 25 29 19 26 21 22 18 17 18 20 22 9 7
 Lithuania 26 21 22 23 18 27 43 53 67 67 74 78 104
 Sweden 27 33 27 27 24 24 24 43 47 51 53 53 55 41
 Armenia 28 30 14 25 23 37 32 46 62 96 117 123 125
 Trinidad and Tobago 29 23 26 17 21 29 26 19 13 16 17 16 24
 Austria 30 26 30 34 32 35 36 37 31 53 43 40 26 16
 Spain 31 28 32 31 29 28 29 36 41 45 62 68 65 34
 Georgia 32 31 54 93 78 84 104 87 107 114 122 125 123
 El Salvador 33 29 28 16 22 22 21 17 9 9 22 18 21 19
 Norway 34 37 34 45 42 39 37 41 22 29 31 41 39
 Slovakia 35 36 33 42 48 77 76 85 108 105 85 85 75 46
 Botswana 36 35 31 26 25 30 42 42 42 59 60 72 56 57
 Czech Republic 37 39 40 47 35 36 40 26 30 23 28 54 29 23
 Latvia 38 38 37 39 33 44 52 44 57 50 56 57 86
 Kuwait 39 41 41 48 55 43 46 35 25 24 38 42 35
 Uruguay 40 34 43 33 37 25 30 24 28 30 26 31 46 37
  1. ^ Special administrative region (SAR) of China since 1997

Method[edit]

The Index's 2008 definition of economic freedom is "The highest form of economic freedom provides an absolute right of property ownership, fully realized freedoms of movement for labor, capital, and goods, and an absolute absence of coercion or constraint of economic liberty beyond the extent necessary for citizens to protect and maintain liberty itself."[6]

The index scores nations on 10 broad factors of economic freedom using statistics from organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Economist Intelligence Unit:

  • Business Freedom: Business freedom is a quantitative measure of the ability to start, operate, and close a business that represents the overall burden of regulation as well as the efficiency of government in the regulatory process.
  • Trade Freedom: Trade freedom is a composite measure of the absence of tariff and non-tariff barriers that affect imports and exports of goods and services. Different imports entering a country can, and often do, face different tariffs.
  • Monetary Freedom: Monetary freedom combines a measure of price stability with an assessment of price controls. Both inflation and price controls distort market activity. Price stability without microeconomic intervention is the ideal state for the free market.
  • Government Size/Spending: This component considers the level of government expenditures as a percentage of GDP. Government expenditures, including consumption and transfers, account for the entire score.
  • Fiscal Freedom: Fiscal freedom is a measure of the tax burden imposed by government.
  • Property Rights: The property rights component is an assessment of the ability of individuals to accumulate private property, secured by clear laws that are fully enforced by the state.
  • Investment Freedom: In an economically free country, there would be no constraints on the flow of investment capital. Individuals and firms would be allowed to move their resources into and out of specific activities internally and across the country’s borders without restriction.
  • Financial Freedom: Financial freedom is a measure of banking efficiency as well as a measure of independence from government control and interference in the financial sector.
  • Freedom from Corruption: Corruption erodes economic freedom by introducing insecurity and uncertainty into economic relationships. The higher the level of corruption, the lower the level of overall economic freedom and the lower a country’s score.
  • Labor Freedom: The labor freedom component is a quantitative measure that looks into aspects of the legal and regulatory framework of a country’s labor market.

The 10 factors are averaged equally into a total score. Each one of the 10 freedoms is graded using a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 represents the maximum freedom. A score of 100 signifies an economic environment or set of policies that is most conducive to economic freedom.[6] The methodology has shifted and changed as new data and measurements have become available, especially in the area of Labor freedom, which was given its own indicator spot in 2007.[2]

Meaning[edit]

The Heritage Foundation reports that the top 20% on the index have twice the per capita income of those in the second quintile, and five times that of the bottom 20%.[7] Carl Schramm, who wrote the first chapter of the 2008 Index, states that cities of Medieval Italy and mid-19th century Midwestern American cities all flourished to the degree they possessed economic fluidity and institutional adaptiveness created by economic freedom.[8]

According to Will Wilkinson of the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, studies show that higher economic freedom correlates strongly with higher self-reported happiness.[9] According to economists Tomi Ovaska and Ryo Takashima, economic freedom research suggests "that people unmistakably care about the degree to which the society where they live provides them opportunities and the freedom to undertake new projects, strongly with and make choices based on one's personal preferences."[10]

According to the Cato Institute, higher economic freedom promotes participation and collaboration.[11] Also claimed is that higher economic freedom is extremely significant in preventing wars; according to their calculations, freedom is around 54 times more effective than democracy (as measured by Democracy Score) in diminishing violent conflict.[12]

Ratings[edit]

Since the index was created in 1995, the score for world economic freedom has increased, rising 2.6 points up to 2008.[13] In 2011 the score had decreased from the 2008 score of 60.2 to 59.7, which represents an increase of 2.2 points since 1995. The Economic Freedom score improved for 117 countries, the majority of countries included in the index, which were mainly developing and emerging market economies. With the exception of Europe and North America, there were increased levels of freedom recorded in all regions, with the greatest improvement shown in Sub-Saharan Africa. The top five "free" economies identified by the 2011 index were Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland, each scoring over 80 on the economic freedom grading scale.[14] Since the Index was created in 1995, Hong Kong has been the top performing economy.[14][15]

In 2011, the United States dropped to 9th place behind such countries as Denmark, Canada, and first-place Hong Kong.[14] The Heritage Foundation has pointed to increases in government spending as the reason for the United States' decline, and according to data from the 2011 index, the growth rates of countries with the highest levels of government spending were 4.5 points lower, on average, than countries where government spending was under control.[16] In their "Executive Highlights" of index results, the Heritage Foundation stated that "high levels of government spending in response to the global economic turmoil have not resulted in higher economic growth".[14]

The results from the 2012 index showed an overall decline in global economic freedom; according to The Heritage Foundation, the average score in its ranking was the second lowest of the last ten years.[17] In particular, the U.S. dropped to 10th place in the ranking, and has now fallen three places since 2008, when it was 7th.[18] A report issued by the Foundation stated that government spending was the cause of the decline, and had "not only failed to arrest the economic crisis, but also—in many countries—seems to be prolonging it".[19] According to the report, activity in the private sector is threatened by the greater government spending, which has increased public debt and led to more bureaucracy.[17]

Countries that shared the same rank received a tie score.

Reception[edit]

According to the Freedom House, "there is a high and statistically significant correlation between the level of political freedom as measured by Freedom House and economic freedom as measured by the Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation survey."[20] The Millennium Challenge Account, a U.S. government foreign aid program, has used the Trade freedom indicator in determining which countries will receive their performance-based compacts.[21]

Critics such as Jeffrey Sachs have contested the Index's assumption that economic openness necessarily leads to better growth. In his book The End of Poverty, Sachs graphed countries' ratings on the index against GDP per capita growth between 1995 and 2003, claiming to demonstrate no correlation between a country's rating and its rate of economic growth. Sachs pointed out, as examples, that countries with good ratings such as Switzerland and Uruguay had sluggish economic performances, others, like China, with poorer rating had very strong economic growth.[22]

The UAE questioned the rating of their country's economic freedom in 2008, comparing its middling rating with the high rating they had received from other indicators such as Transparency International and Moody's. They also argued that the report is "unreliable", because its methodology had changed twice in the last two years.[23]

Stefan Karlsson of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, challenged the usefulness of the index due to the fuzziness of many of the categories used to determine freedom.[24] John Miller roundly criticizes the "Index", writing in Dollars & Sense, "In the hands of the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, Washington's foremost right-wing think tank, however, an economic freedom index merely measures corporate and entrepreneurial freedom from accountability. Upon examination, the index turns out to be a poor barometer of either freedom more broadly construed or of prosperity."[25] According to Left Business Observer, the Index has only a 33% statistical correlation with a standard measure of economic growth, GDP per capita.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Executive Summary". Index of Economic Freedom. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  2. ^ a b William Beach, Time Kane (15 January 2008). "Methodology; Measuring the 10 Economic Freedoms". Index of Economic Freedom. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  3. ^ Economic Freedom Index - Downloads
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  19. ^ Edwin J. Feulner (12 January 2012). "A Step Backward for Economic Freedom in 2012". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  20. ^ Adrian Karatnycky. Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Transaction Publishers. 2001. ISBN 978-0-7658-0101-2. p. 11
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  22. ^ The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our Time, Jeffrey Sachs, Penguin Books, 2005, ISBN 1-59420-045-9, pp. 320–321.
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  25. ^ "Free, Free at Last", John Miller, Dollars and Sense, No. 258, March/April 2005
  26. ^ "Laissez-faire Olympics, an LBO special report", Left Business Observer, 26 March 2005

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