Economic Freedom of the World: An Accounting of the Literature
19 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2013
Date Written: January 2014
The Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index was first produced by Gwartney, Block, and Lawson (Economic Freedom of the World: 1975–1995; 1996) and has been updated annually since. During this period, the EFW index has been cited in hundreds of academic articles. Here, we provide an accounting and description of this literature. Of 402 articles citing the EFW index, 198 used the index as an independent variable in an empirical study. Over two‐thirds of these studies found economic freedom to correspond to a “good” outcome such as faster growth, better living standards, more happiness, etc. Less than 4% of the sample found economic freedom to be associated with a “bad” outcome such as increased income inequality. The balance of evidence is overwhelming that economic freedom corresponds with a wide variety of positive outcomes with almost no negative tradeoffs.
JEL Classification: P0, O43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation