Economic liberty is a ‘negative’ freedom, defined as lack of interference or coercion by others in an individual’s economic decisions. Personal choice, voluntary exchanges, access to markets, and protection of persons and their property from aggressions are its constitutive elements.
A country can be considered economically free in so far people and privately owned property are securely protected, contracts enforced, prices stable, barriers to trade small, and resources mainly allocated through the market. Assessing the consistency of a nation’s institutions and policies with these requisites is the purpose of any index of economic freedom.
Four main dimensions of economic freedom are distinguished: legal structure and security of property rights, value of money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation. [Read more…]