The Long‐Run Effect of Government Ideology on Economic Freedom

14 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2019

See all articles by Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2019


According to popular attitudes in Western democracies, the choice between right‐wing and left‐wing parties is a choice between socialism and unbridled free markets. In contrast, the cold and staid research of academia has frequently concluded that particular political parties do not really matter, as whichever party is elected will be closely tethered to the will of the median voter. This article considers the effects of the ideology of parties in power over the long run (1928–95) on economic freedom in subsequent periods. Right‐wing governments are found to have modest, positive effects on economic freedom, but the effects are not particularly robust. The findings here are consistent with others elsewhere, which conclude that there is minor, uneven evidence of an effect. Nonetheless, historically small effects may not be indicative of the future, should these effects be poorly indicative of today's tumultuous political landscape.

Keywords: economic freedom, economic institutions, political ideology

JEL Classification: D72, O43

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Ryan, The Long‐Run Effect of Government Ideology on Economic Freedom (February 2019). Economic Affairs, Vol. 39, Issue 1, pp. 101-114, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Ryan Murphy (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

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Dallas, TX 75275
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