Romania is the top performer among 10 countries of Southeast Europe (SEE) in terms of economic freedom, according to the Canada-based Fraser Institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World report released today. Romania was 20th in the overall ranking, up one place from last year's edition of the report.
The report measures the economic freedom—the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions—by analyzing the policies and institutions of 162 countries and territories. These include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, sound legal system and property rights, and government spending and taxation. The 2018 report is based on data from 2016, the last year of available comparable statistics.
Albania ranked 34th, Bulgaria 48th, Macedonia 68th, Slovenia 71st, Montenegro 72th, Croatia 75th, Serbia 84th, Bosnia-Herzegovina 98th and Greece 108th.
Hong Kong and Singapore are once again the most economically free jurisdictions in the world, according to the Canada-based think-tank. Rounding out the top 10 are New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the United States, Georgia, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada (which are tied at 10th).
The 10 lowest-ranked countries are Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Syria, Algeria, Argentina, Libya and last-place Venezuela. Some countries such as North Korea and Cuba can’t be ranked due to lack of data.
Other major countries
The rankings of some other major countries are Germany (20th), Japan (41st) Italy (54th), France (57th), Mexico (82nd), Russia (87th), India (96th), China (108th), and Brazil (144th).
Countries in the top quartile (25 per cent) of economic freedom (such as the U.K., Japan and Ireland) had an average per-capita income of US$40,376 in 2016 compared to US$5,649 for the bottom quartile countries (such as Venezuela, Iran and Zimbabwe). And life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 64.4 years in the bottom quartile.
The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with ties to an international network of think-tanks in 87 countries. It produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 100 countries and territories. It’s the world’s premier measurement of economic freedom.
Since the first publication in 1996, numerous studies have used the data published in Economic Freedom of the World to examine the impact of economic freedom on investment, economic growth, income levels, and poverty rates. Virtually without exception, these studies have found that countries with institutions and policies more consistent with economic freedom have higher investment rates, more rapid economic growth, higher income levels, and a more rapid reduction in poverty rates.