Once again, Canada ranks among the world’s most economically free countries, ranking ninth overall, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report.
The report measures the economic freedom (levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately owned property, rule of law, etc.) by analysing the policies and institutions of 157 countries and territories.
“Economic freedom breeds prosperity and economically free countries like Canada offer the highest quality of life while the lowest-ranked countries are usually burdened by oppressive regimes that limit the freedom and opportunity of their citizens,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the Fraser Institute.
Canada dropped two spots in this year’s rankings, to ninth from seventh. The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, ranks 16th in the world.
According to the report, based on 2013 statistics (the most recent year of available data), the top 10 most economically free jurisdictions are Hong Kong (which continues its streak of number one rankings), Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Jordan, Ireland and Canada, with the United Kingdom and Chile tied for 10th.
“Hong Kong remains number one but because democracy is the best safeguard of freedom, if China, which ranks low in economic freedom, encroaches on Hong Kong, we can expect Hong Kong’s ranking to fall,” McMahon said. Other notable rankings include Japan (26), Germany (29), Russia (99), China (111) and India (114).
People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives. For example, countries in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of US$38,601 in 2013, compared to US$6,986 for bottom quartile nations.
Moreover, the average income in 2013 of the poorest 10 per cent in the most economically free countries (US$9,881) dwarfed the overall average income in the least free countries (US$1,629). And life expectancy is 80.1 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 63.1 years in the bottom quartile.
The Fraser Institute produces the annual report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in 90 nations and territories.