Economic Freedom in the Long Run:
Evidence from OECD Countries (1850 - 2007)
Leandro PRADOS DE LA ESCOSURA
Economic liberty may be defined as lack of interference or coercion, that is, as negative freedom, in which competitive markets play a central role by protecting individuals ‘against encroachments on the part of the police power’.
A tension has long existed between the view that perceives the extension of economic freedom as the most effective way to promote welfare and equality, and the view that stresses welfare and equality, as prerequisites of economic freedom. It has been argued that every society faces a trade-‐off between preserving individuals’ economic freedom and achieving wellbeing. If such a trade-‐off exists, does it hold in the long run? To answer this question new measures of negative economic freedom are needed.