Hong Kong is once again the most economically free jurisdiction in the world, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World Report. The report measures the economic freedom (levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately owned property, rule of law, etc.) by analyzing the policies and institutions of 157 countries and territories. Co‐published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, and more than 70 think tanks around the world, this is the 20th edition of Economic Freedom of the World and this year’s publication ranks 157 nations for 2014, the most recent year for which data are available.
Global economic freedom increased slightly in this year’s report, but remains below its peak level of 6.92 in 2007. The average score increased to 6.86 in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. In this year’s index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.97 out of 10. The rest of this year’s top scores are Singapore, 8.52; New Zealand, 8.19; Switzerland, 8.16; United Arab Emirates, 8.15; Mauritius, 8.08; Jordan, 7.93; Ireland, 7.90; Canada, 7.89; and the United Kingdom at 7.87.
The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 16th in the world with a score of 7.73. Due to a weakening rule of law, increasing regulation, and the ramifications of wars on terrorism and drugs, the United States has seen its economic freedom score plummet in recent years, compared to 2000 when it ranked second globally.
The rankings of other large economies in this year’s index are Japan (26th), Germany (29th), South Korea (39th), Italy (68th), France (70th), Mexico (93st), Russia (99th), China (111th), India (114th), and Brazil (118th).