Exploring Economic Freedom Data

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Heritage not only reports an annual report on economic freedom that ranks 178 countries, but it also allows you to download their data into a spreadsheet to further explore the data. Knowing the methodology used for scoring helps you to sort the data in a helpful and instructive manner.

There are scores that can be sorted into five economic categories:

  • 80-100 = “Free” economy
  • 70-79.9 = “Mostly Free” economy
  • 60-69.9 = “Moderately Free” economy
  • 50-59.9 = “Mostly “UnFree” economy
  • 0-49.9 = “Repressed” economy

There are ten components that can be sorted into four areas of economic freedom concern:

  • Rule of Law measured by Freedom from Corruption and Property Rights
  • Open Markets measured by Trade Freedom, Investment Freedom, and Financial Freedom
  • Regulatory Efficiency measured by Business Freedom, Labor Freedom, and Monetary Freedom
  • Limited Government measured by Fiscal Freedom and Government Spending

The tables below are the data for the best of the best and worst of the worst in the four areas of economic freedom concerns. The Rule of Law and Limited Government tables have more best and worse countries because each of these areas have two instead of three components that needed to be either all 80 or above or all 49.9 and below. 18 of the 178 ranked countries are mentioned, and sadly, the United States is not one of the best. We need another President like Ronald Reagan to lead us out of the same mess we made of things in the 1970s. It’s not just taxes and spending that need to be fixed. Actually the things that really matter the most that need fixing are in the areas of Rule of Law, Open Markets, and Regulatory Efficiency.

The data on the Limited Government table may surprise you. Remember a dictator believes in shrinking the government down to one person in complete control. The only government spending he needs is enough to keep his top military brass satisfied so they won’t take him out in a military coup. He doesn’t need to dole out any money to win votes because he can’t be voted out of power. We also need to take to heart the words of Ronald Reagan about individual freedom.

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream – the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.

The 18 Countries included in these tables

Country Population (Millions) World Rank
China 1354.0 137
Indonesia 244.5 100
Pakistan 178.9 126
Nigeria 164.8 129
Germany 81.9 18
Iran 76.1 173
Burma 63.7 162
France 63.4 70
United Kingdom 63.2 14
Canada 34.8 6
Venezuela 29.5 175
North Korea 24.7 178
Australia 22.8 3
Netherlands 16.8 15
Belgium 11.1 35
Sweden 9.5 20
Hong Kong 7.2 1
Denmark 5.6 10

Limited Government

Country Fiscal Freedom Gov’t Spending
Indonesia 83.4 89.8
Burma 86.9 89.2
Pakistan 80.6 88.3
Iran 80.6 85.9
Sweden 42.9 21.4
Belgium 44.8 14.8
France 48.4 5.6
Denmark 39.3 0.5

Rule of Law

Country Property Rights Freedom from Corruption
Netherlands 90 88.0
Australia 90 87.7
Canada 90 87.7
Germany 90 80.1
China 20 35.0
Indonesia 30 28.0
Pakistan 30 22.7
Nigeria 30 22.7

Open Markets

Country Trade Freedom Investment Freedom Financial Freedom
United Kingdom 87.8 90 80
Canada 88.3 80 80
Iran 41.4 0 10
North Korea 0.0 0 0

Regulatory Efficiency

Country Business Freedom Labor Freedom Monetary Freedom
Hong Kong 98.9 95.5 82.0
Venezuela 43.4 33.7 49.7
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