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News : International Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM


Index of Economic Freedom 2007: Ireland ranked as world's seventh freest economy; Hong Kong in first place and UK gets sixth place ranking
By Finfacts Team
Jan 16, 2007 - 10:54:00 AM

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Heritage Foundation President Dr Edwin Feulner presents Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang with a copy of the 2007 Index of Economic Freedom.

Hong Kong has been ranked as the world's freest economy for the 13th year running, according to an index published Tuesday and Ireland gets a 7th place ranking

The 2007 Annual Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank and The Wall Street Journal, assessed 10 broad factors of freedoms in 157 economies worldwide.

The average freedom score this year for the 157 countries ranked is the second highest since we began measuring economic freedom 13 years ago. It is down a fraction from last year, but each region of the globe enjoys greater economic freedom than it did a decade ago. Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia are the three freest economies in the world this year, in that order. The U.S. ranks No. 4, New Zealand 5th, UK 6th, Ireland 7th, Luxembourg 8th, Switzerland 9th and Canada 10th. Among the 20 freest economies in the world, Europe holds 12 places.

Hong Kong scored the highest in four of the categories notching up an overall score of 89.3 out of 100. Singapore scored 85.7, followed by Australia at 82.7, the United States at 82 and New Zealand fifth at 81.6. Ireland got a score of 81.3. China ranked 119th with a score of 61.6, compared to the Asian average of 59.1 and the world average of 60.6.

This year, a 16-member academic advisory board to oversee methodology, one of the most critical aspects of the annual survey, has been established. The methodology also has some changes. The annual survey still grades countries on a combination of factors including property rights protection, tax rates, government intervention in the economy, and monetary, fiscal and trade policy. But this year the authors have renamed the "regulation" factor "business freedom" in order to reflect our emphasis on liberty. Thanks to data from the World Bank's annual  "Doing Business" report, they expect this factor to better capture the varying levels of entrepreneurial freedom around the globe. The authors have also crafted a new category to measure "labor freedom," meaning the flexibility of labor laws. Finally, the Index scoring scale will now be 0 to 100 instead of 1 to 5, to allow a more nuanced overall measure.

"As it has in past editions, the 2007 Index also looks at income levels around the globe and finds that economically free countries enjoy significantly greater prosperity than those burdened by heavy government intervention. The per capita GDP of the top quintile of countries, ranked according to economic freedom, is now almost $28,000 while the bottom quintile is less than $5,000. The associated higher GDP rates that come with economic freedom "seem to create a virtuous cycle, triggering further improvements in economic freedom. Our 13 years of Index data strongly suggest that countries that increase their levels of freedom experience faster growth rates," says the report.

Ireland

According to the survey, Ireland is ranked 2nd out of 41 countries in the European region, behind only the UK, with a score of 81.3 per cent - much higher than the regional average.

Labour freedom is identified as Ireland's weakest area. "As in many other European nations, generous labour laws mean that employment is not as flexible as it should be for maximum job creation and sectoral dynamics.

"Government spending as a proportion of GDP is also a disincentive. Even though tariffs are low, non-trade barriers reduce Ireland's trade freedom score."

Ireland scores highly on business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, monetary freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption.

Entrepreneurship is made easy in Ireland because Government has a "light regulatory hand". It also notes that "distortionary EU agricultural subsidies" are undermining the country's monetary score.

CountryRank [Freedom %]

 
       Hong Kong 1   [89.3]        Belize 56   [63.7]        Guinea 111   [63.7]  
       Singapore 2   [85.7]        Kuwait 57   [63.7]        Bolivia 112   [63.7]  
       Australia 3   [82.7]        Slovenia 58   [63.6]        Burkina Faso 113   [63.6]  
       United States 4   [82.0]        Uganda 59   [63.4]        Benin 114   [63.4]  
       New Zealand 5   [81.6]        Italy 60   [63.4]        Bosnia and Herzegovina 115   [63.4]  
       United Kingdom 6   [81.6]        Nicaragua 61   [62.7]        Ethiopia 116   [62.7]  
       Ireland 7   [81.3]        Bulgaria 62   [62.2]        Cameroon 117   [62.2]  
       Luxembourg 8   [79.3]        Peru 63   [62.1]        Lesotho 118   [62.1]  
       Switzerland 9   [79.1]        Swaziland 64   [61.6]        China 119   [61.6]  
       Canada 10   [78.7]        Madagascar 65   [61.4]        Russia 120   [61.4]  
       Chile 11   [78.3]        Albania 66   [61.4]        Nepal 121   [61.4]  
       Estonia 12   [78.1]        Romania 67   [61.3]        Yemen 122   [61.3]  
       Denmark 13   [77.6]        Guatemala 68   [61.2]        Mali 123   [61.2]  
       Netherlands 14   [77.1]        Tunisia 69   [61.0]        Niger 124   [61.0]  
       Iceland 15   [77.1]        Brazil 70   [60.9]        Ukraine 125   [60.9]  
       Finland 16   [76.5]        Macedonia 71   [60.8]        Mauritania 126   [60.8]  
       Belgium 17   [74.5]        Qatar 72   [60.7]        Egypt 127   [60.7]  
       Japan 18   [73.6]        Colombia 73   [60.5]        Equatorial Guinea 128   [60.5]  
       Germany 19   [73.5]        United Arab Emirates 74   [60.4]        Gabon 129   [60.4]  
       Cyprus 20   [73.1]        Kazakhstan 75   [60.4]        Djibouti 130   [60.4]  
       Sweden 21   [72.6]        Honduras 76   [60.3]        Nigeria 131   [60.3]  
       Lithuania 22   [72.0]        Lebanon 77   [60.3]        Uzbekistan 132   [60.3]  
       Trinidad and Tobago 23   [71.4]        Mongolia 78   [60.1]        Suriname 133   [60.1]  
       Bahamas 24   [71.4]        Kyrgyz Republic, The 79   [59.9]        Algeria 134   [59.9]  
       Austria 25   [71.3]        Fiji 80   [59.8]        Haiti 135   [59.8]  
       Taiwan 26   [71.1]        Moldova 81   [59.5]        Rwanda 136   [59.5]  
       Spain 27   [70.9]        Kenya 82   [59.4]        Central African Republic 137   [59.4]  
       Barbados 28   [70.5]        Turkey 83   [59.3]        Vietnam 138   [59.3]  
       El Salvador 29   [70.3]        Sri Lanka 84   [59.3]        Togo 139   [59.3]  
       Norway 30   [70.1]        Saudi Arabia 85   [59.1]        Laos 140   [59.1]  
       Czech Republic 31   [69.7]        Senegal 86   [58.8]        Sierra Leone 141   [58.8]  
       Armenia 32   [69.4]        Poland 87   [58.8]        Syria 142   [58.8]  
       Uruguay 33   [69.3]        Cape Verde 88   [58.4]        Bangladesh 143   [58.4]  
       Mauritius 34   [69.0]        Pakistan 89   [58.2]        Venezuela 144   [58.2]  
       Georgia 35   [68.7]        Guyana 90   [58.2]        Belarus 145   [58.2]  
       Korea, South 36   [68.6]        Ghana 91   [58.1]        Burundi 146   [58.1]  
       Israel 37   [68.4]        Zambia 92   [57.9]        Chad 147   [57.9]  
       Botswana 38   [68.4]        Gambia, The 93   [57.6]        Guinea Bissau 148   [57.6]  
       Bahrain 39   [68.4]        Greece 94   [57.6]        Angola 149   [57.6]  
       Slovak Republic, The 40   [68.4]        Argentina 95   [57.5]        Iran 150   [57.5]  
       Latvia 41   [68.2]        Morocco 96   [57.4]        Congo, Republic of 151   [57.4]  
       Malta 42   [67.8]        Philippines, The 97   [57.4]        Turkmenistan 152   [57.4]  
       Portugal 43   [66.7]        Tajikistan 98   [56.9]        Burma 153   [56.9]  
       Hungary 44   [66.2]        Paraguay 99   [56.8]        Zimbabwe 154   [56.8]  
       France 45   [66.1]        Dominican Republic 100   [56.7]        Libya 155   [56.7]  
       Jamaica 46   [66.1]        Mozambique 101   [56.6]        Cuba 156   [56.6]  
       Panama 47   [65.9]        Cambodia 102   [56.5]        Korea, North 157   [56.5]  
       Malaysia 48   [65.8]        Tanzania 103   [56.4]        Sudan -   Not Ranked  
       Mexico 49   [65.8]        India 104   [55.6]        Serbia -   Not Ranked  
       Thailand 50   [65.6]        Ivory Coast 105   [55.5]        Congo, Dem. Republic of -   Not Ranked  
       Costa Rica 51   [65.1]        Malawi 106   [55.5]        Iraq -   Not Ranked  
       South Africa 52   [64.1]        Azerbaijan 107   [55.4]    
       Jordan 53   [64.0]        Ecuador 108   [55.3]    
       Oman 54   [63.9]        Croatia 109   [55.3]    
       Namibia 55   [63.8]


© Copyright 2009 by Finfacts.com

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