Measuring Open Access Orders

36 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2022

See all articles by Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Date Written: September 5, 2022


This paper assesses how to quantitatively classify countries as conforming to the ideal of an “open access order” in the spirit of Douglass North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry Weingast’s Violence and Social Orders. It does so by taking the harmonic mean of already existing measures of economic freedom, liberal democracy, and state capacity. Thirty-five countries out of 161 in 2020 were assessed to be open access orders. A main dataset is constructed for the years 1950 to present, and a supplementary dataset for select countries is constructed for years back to 1850. Switzerland has the highest index score for open access orders in 2020, is classified to be an open access order continuously since 1950, and is the first country to be classified as an open access order (in 1875). A naïve descriptive application of the historical data suggests that about three-quarters of the world will be an open access in the steady state, should postwar worldwide trends persist indefinitely.

Keywords: Institutions, Open Access Orders, Economic Freedom, Democracy, State Capacity, New Institutional Economics

JEL Classification: O43, P10, H11, N40

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Ryan, Measuring Open Access Orders (September 5, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Ryan Murphy (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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