The Index of Economic Freedom 2013, published annually since 1995 by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, was released on the 14thof January. Analysts have argued that the results of this years index point to a global trend of a weakening foundation for economic freedom. However, the Baltic states have emerged with results which demonstrate an improvement in economic freedom compared to previous years, while other ex-Soviet countries have not fared quite as well. Eastbook.eu takes a brief look at the results for the region.
To track and rank economic freedoms, each country is evaluated in four broad areas of economic freedom:
- Rule of law–this measures how effective and fair the country’s judicial system is, how widespread the corruption, bribery and other financial crimes.
- Limited government–an analysis of the taxation system, and the control on government spending.
- Regulatory efficiency–an examination of the stringency or flexibility of business regulations, and individual worker freedom, inflation and price stability.
- Open markets–a measurement of how freely goods are traded, whether the environment engenders market competition, how cumbersome are existing tarrifs, quotas and restrictions.
Out of the former Soviet Union countries only Estonia is ahead at 13th place, with an overall score of 75.3 out of 100, it puts Estonia fourth among European countries, behind Switzerland, Denmark and Ireland. Lithuania is 22nd, well ahead of Baltic neighbor, Latvia, which rests at 55th place. Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine came in 115th, 154th, 161st, respectively.
Georgia emerged at 22nd, and Armenia 38th, with Azerbaijan trailing far behind at 88th.
Interestingly, Turkey is 69th–beating out the majority of the Eastern Partnership countries, for whom reforming to adhere to EU standards in combating corruption and increasing strong rule of law and transparency is an increasing priority.
Globally, Zimbabwe, Cuba and North Korea bottomed out the list.
Visualize and Compare with the Index of Economic Freedom Heatmap