2018 Index of Economic Freedom

The Countries

The Index of Economic Freedom analyzes a variety of factors underpinning economic freedom in countries throughout the world.

The country profiles in the Index provide real-world examples of the impact of government policies on the economic well-being of individuals and families. Policies that enhance economic freedom tend to be associated with greater economic and social progress. Countries with high levels of economic freedom have high levels of political stability and higher levels of income. Their citizens typically enjoy greater social mobility and work environments characterized by high levels of innovation and experimentation. Such economies are following not just one path to development, but rather as many as human ingenuity can produce. By contrast, countries in which freedom is curtailed occupy the lower spectrums of economic and social development.

Of the 186 countries included in this edition of the Index, 180 are fully scored and ranked. Because of insufficient data, six countries (Iraq, Libya, Liechtenstein, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen) are evaluated and partially graded but not ranked.

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 economic and political 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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