2019 Index of Economic Freedom

Bangladesh

overall score55.6
world rank121
Rule of Law

Property Rights36.1

Government Integrity24.4

Judicial Effectiveness34.5

Government Size

Government Spending94.5

Tax Burden72.7

Fiscal Health77.6

Regulatory Efficiency

Business Freedom50.9

Labor Freedom68.2

Monetary Freedom69.9

Open Markets

Trade Freedom63.6

Investment Freedom45.0

Financial Freedom30.0

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Quick Facts
  • Population:
    • 163.2 million
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $687.1 billion
    • 7.1% growth
    • 6.7% 5-year compound annual growth
    • $4,211 per capita
  • Unemployment:
    • 4.4%
  • Inflation (CPI):
    • 5.7%
  • FDI Inflow:
    • $2.2 billion

Bangladesh’s economic freedom score is 55.6, making its economy the 121st freest in the 2019 Index. Its overall score has increased by 0.5 point, with higher scores on factors including property rights and government integrity countering declines in investment freedom and fiscal health. Bangladesh is ranked 27th among 43 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.

Robust economic growth of approximately 6 percent annually for two decades has been driven by a rapid increase in private consumption and fixed investment. Nevertheless, Bangladesh still grapples with poor infrastructure, endemic corruption, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. The fragile rule of law continues to undermine economic development. Corruption and weak enforcement of property rights force workers and small businesses into the informal economy. Entrepreneurial activity is also hampered by an uncertain regulatory environment.

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Background

Bangladesh is a large Muslim-majority democracy that shares borders with India and Burma. The British partition of India in 1947 resulted in the creation of West Pakistan and, in the Muslim-majority areas of Bengal east of India, East Pakistan. Following a brutal conflict for independence from West Pakistan, East Pakistan, aided by India, declared itself the independent state of Bangladesh in 1971. Two political parties have alternated in power for decades. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League was reelected in 2014. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted the 2014 election and threatened to boycott elections that were scheduled for late December 2018. Despite political instability, economic growth is robust, led by garment exports.

Rule of LawView Methodology

Property Rights 36.1 Create a Graph using this measurement

Government Integrity 24.4 Create a Graph using this measurement

Judicial Effectiveness 34.5 Create a Graph using this measurement

Property laws are antiquated, and land disputes are common. The judiciary is slow and lacks independence. Contract enforcement and dispute settlement procedures are inefficient. Endemic corruption and criminality, weak rule of law, limited bureaucratic transparency, and political polarization have undermined government accountability. High-profile corruption cases are common. Two recent cases involved a chief justice and a former prime minister.

Government SizeView Methodology

The top income tax rate is 25 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 45 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax. The overall tax burden equals 8.8 percent of total domestic income. Over the past three years, government spending has amounted to 13.6 percent of the country’s output (GDP), and budget deficits have averaged 3.6 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 32.4 percent of GDP.

Regulatory EfficiencyView Methodology

Despite some progress in streamlining business regulations, entrepreneurial activity is hampered by an uncertain regulatory environment and the absence of effective long-term institutional support for private-sector development. A well-functioning labor market has not been fully developed, but labor productivity growth has been slightly higher than wage hikes. The state continues its extensive subsidizing of food, fuel, electricity, and agriculture.

Open MarketsView Methodology

The combined value of exports and imports is equal to 35.3 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 10.7 percent. The government has taken steps to reduce bureaucratic barriers to investment, but overall progress has been slow. State ownership and interference in the financial sector remain considerable. About 54 percent of adult Bangladeshis have access to an account with a formal banking institution.

Country's Score Over Time

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Regional Ranking

rank country overall change
1Hong Kong90.20.0
2Singapore89.40.6
3New Zealand84.40.2
4Australia80.90.0
5Taiwan77.30.7
6Malaysia 74-0.5
7South Korea72.3-1.5
8Japan72.1-0.2
9Macau710.1
10Thailand 68.31.2
11Indonesia65.81.6
12Kazakhstan65.4-3.7
13Azerbaijan65.41.1
14Brunei Darussalam65.10.9
15Philippines63.8-1.2
16Bhutan62.91.1
17Kyrgyz Republic 62.3-0.5
18Fiji62.20.2
19Samoa62.20.7
20China58.40.6
21Papua New Guinea58.42.7
22Cambodia57.8-0.9
23Tonga57.7-5.4
24Laos57.43.8
25Sri Lanka56.4-1.4
26Vanuatu56.4-13.1
27Bangladesh 55.60.5
28Tajikistan55.6-2.7
29Mongolia55.4-0.3
30Vietnam55.32.2
31India55.20.7
32Pakistan 550.6
33Solomon Islands54.6-2.9
34Nepal53.8-0.3
35Burma53.6-0.3
36Uzbekistan53.31.8
37Maldives53.22.1
38Micronesia51.9-0.4
39Afghanistan51.50.2
40Turkmenistan48.41.3
41Kiribati47.3-3.5
42Timor-Leste44.2-3.9
43North Korea5.90.1
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