Global economic freedom up slightly; The Bahamas ranks 37 among 157 jurisdictions

First Published: 2015-09-15

Nassau,—The Bahamas ranks 37 out of 157 countries and territories included in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2015 Annual Report, released today by The Nassau Institute in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute.

Last year, The Bahamas ranked 36.

Hong Kong again tops the index, continuing its streak of number one rankings, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Jordan, Ireland, Canada, and the United Kingdom and Chile tied for 10th.

“Hong Kong’s still 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,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the Fraser Institute.

The report, which is based on data from 2013 (the most recent year available),  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 the most economically free countries 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,” McMahon said.

Other notable rankings include Japan (26), Germany (29), Russia (99), China (111) and India (114).
The 10 lowest-ranked countries are Angola, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Argentina, Syria, Chad, Libya, Republic of Congo, and Venezuela. Some despotic countries such as North Korea and Cuba can’t be ranked due to lack of data.

Globally, the average economic freedom score rose slightly to 6.86 out of 10 from 6.84 last year.
According to research in top peer-reviewed journals, 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 Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in 90 nations and territories. It’s the world’s premier measurement of economic freedom, ranking countries based on economic freedom, which is measured in five areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labour and business. See the full report at www.freetheworld.com.

The Bahamas scores in key components of economic freedom (from 1 to 10 where a higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom):

Size of government: changed to 8.15 from 8.14 in the last year’s report

  • Legal system and property rights: changed to 6.61 from 6.66
  • Access to sound money: changed to 7.11 from 7.08
  • Freedom to trade internationally: changed to 6.34 from 6.37
  • Regulation of credit, labour and business: changed to 8.91 from 8.68

Since 1975 The Bahamas has ranked as high as 10th overall and as low as 61st overall based on available data each year. The 2015 Report includes data through to 2013. There is at least one very important data set not included as the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey as The Bahamas does not participate in this at the moment.

The Economic Freedom of the World report, provides a ready reference for policy makers to help plot the way to more sound public policy.

International Rankings

Hong Kong has the highest level of economic freedom worldwide, with a score of 8.97 out of 10, followed by Singapore (8.52), New Zealand (8.19), Switzerland (8.16), United Arab Emirates (8.15), Mauritius (8.08), Jordan (7.93), Ireland (7.90), Canada (7.89), and the United Kingdom (7.87).
Other notable countries include the United States (7.73), Japan (7.52), Germany (7.50), Russia (6.69), China (6.44) and India (6.43).

About the Economic Freedom Index

Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries support economic freedom. The 2015 report was prepared by James Gwartney, Florida State University; Robert A. Lawson, Southern Methodist University; and Joshua Hall, West Virginia University.
This year’s publication ranks 157 countries and territories. The report also updates data in earlier reports in instances where data has been revised.

Check out our Economic Freedom of the World video here.

For more information on the Economic Freedom Network, datasets, and previous Economic Freedom of the World reports, visit www.freetheworld.com. Also ‘Like’ the Economic Freedom Network on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EconomicFreedomNetwork.

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CONTACTS:
Rick Lowe, info “at” nassauinstitute.org
Tel: (242) 302-0130 extension 2226

For more information on the Economic Freedom Network, datasets, and previous Economic Freedom of the World reports, go to www.freetheworld.com.


Founded in 1995 The Nassau Institute is a research institute – a think tank- that promotes capitalism and free markets. Our mission is to formulate and promote public policies for The Bahamas based on the principles of limited government, individual freedom, and the rule of law.

The Nassau Institute encourages the revival of historical research promoting the free and enterprising commonwealth and countering the political philosophy of statism in all its forms.

The Institute draws from the works of scholars such as Ludwig Von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard and others of the Austrian School as well as contemporary economists such as Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, George Reisman and numerous others who have advanced the cause of liberty.

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