On December 2, 2014, the Fraser Institute released its eighth Economic Freedom of North America report. The report ranks jurisdictions based on their levels of economic freedom (measured by size of government, taxation and labor market restrictions) using data from 2012, the most recent year of available data. New Hampshire was ranked the fifth most economically free state this year, up several positions from last year.
The report’s American-only ranking system spotlights state and local government policy, comparing U.S. states to one another. The top five most economically free U.S. states this year were Texas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Virginia and New Hampshire. The five worst states were Maine, Vermont, Mississippi, New York and Rhode Island. The report also has an all-government ranking system, which includes the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces. Both the complete report and the U.S. edition are available online.
‘‘The freest economies operate with minimal government interference, relying on personal choice and markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced. As government imposes restrictions on these choices, there’s less economic freedom,’’ said Dean Stansel, economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University and co-author of the report.
‘‘The link between economic freedom and prosperity is clear—-states that support low taxation, limited government and flexible labor markets see greater economic growth while states with lower levels of economic freedom see lower living standards and less economic opportunity,’’ said Fred McMahon, study co-author.
The Fraser Institute is an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research.
The Economic Freedom of North America report is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index.