Index of Economic Freedom - Ratings


Since the index was created in 1995, the score for world economic freedom has increased, rising 2.6 points up to 2008. 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. Since the Index was created in 1995, Hong Kong has been the top performing economy.

In 2011, the United States dropped to 9th place behind such countries as Denmark, Canada, and first-place Hong Kong. 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. 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".

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. In particular, the U.S. dropped to 10th place in the ranking, and has now fallen three places since 2008, when it was 7th. 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". 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.

Countries that shared the same rank received a tie score.

Read more about this topic:  Index Of Economic Freedom

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