2017 Index of Economic Freedom

Economic Freedom by Region and Country

The Index of Economic Freedom chronicles and benchmarks the many factors underpinning economic freedom in countries throughout the world.

The country profiles in the Index, organized regionally in five groupings (the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa), provide many real-world examples of the impact, both positive and negative, of government economic policies. Those that enhance economic freedom tend to be associated with greater economic and social progress and can be emulated by other countries that are willing to reform. Successful countries are those that chart not just one path to development, but as many as the ingenuity of humans can produce when they are free to experiment and innovate.

Of the 186 countries included in this edition, 180 are fully scored and ranked. Because of insufficient data, six countries (Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Liechtenstein) are evaluated but not graded. In the 2017 Index, Afghanistan has been graded and ranked for the first time, and Sudan has returned to the rankings for the first time since 2000.

For analytical understanding and presentational clarity, the 12 economic freedoms are grouped into four pillars of economic freedom:
Rule of law (property rights, judicial effectiveness, and government integrity);
Government size (tax burden, government spending, and fiscal health);
Regulatory efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, and monetary freedom); and
Market openness (trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom).

Ranked countries are given a score ranging from 0 to 100 on each of the 12 components of economic freedom, and these scores are then averaged (using equal weights) to compute a country’s final economic freedom score.

In addition to the scores, the country pages include a brief overview describing economic strengths and weaknesses and providing the political and economic background that may have influenced the country’s performance. A statistical profile includes the country’s main economic and demographic indicators.

Heritage Media Contacts

  • Justin Posey
    • Communications Manager, Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity
    • work: 202.608.6175
    • cell: 202.230.6690
  • Jim Weidman
    • Director, Editorial Services
    • work: 202.608.6145

Heritage Research Contacts

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