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Freedom Index – Individual Congressmen/Congresswomen

Capitol “The Freedom Index” rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. Click Here to download the most recent index (PDF)

 

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Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom image

Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom

Jason Sorens, William Ruger | Feb 26, 2009

This paper presents the first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. We develop and justify our ratings and aggregation procedure on explicitly normative criteria, defining individual freedom as the ability to dispose of one’s own life, liberty, and justly acquired property however one sees fit, so long as one does not coercively infringe on another individual’s ability to do the same.

This study improves on prior attempts to score economic freedom for American states in three primary ways: (1) it includes measures of social and personal freedoms such as peaceable citizens’ rights to educate their own children, own and carry firearms, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure; (2) it includes far more variables, even on economic policies alone, than prior studies, and there are no missing data on any variable; and (3) it uses new, more accurate measurements of key variables, particularly state fiscal policies.

We find that the freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending and middling levels of regulation and paternalism. New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland. On personal freedom alone, Alaska is the clear winner, while Maryland brings up the rear. As for freedom in the different regions of the country, the Mountain and West North Central regions are the freest overall while the Middle Atlantic lags far behind on both economic and personal freedom. Regression analysis demonstrates that states enjoying more economic and personal freedom tend to attract substantially higher rates of internal net migration.

The data used to create the rankings are publicly available online at www.statepolicyindex.com, and we invite others to adopt their own weights to see how the overall state freedom rankings change

DOWNLOAD FULL PUBLICATION PDF: http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/publication/Freedom_in_the_50_States.pdf

JASON SORENS

Jason Sorens is an affiliated scholar with the Mercatus Center and an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Buffalo (SUNY). His research interests include fiscal federalism, secessionism, ethnic violence, and comparative federalism. FULL BIO

RESEARCH AREAS

Economic Growth, Law and Economics, Public Choice, State and Local Government

WILLIAM RUGER

William P. Ruger is an affiliated scholar with the Mercatus Center and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Texas State University – San Marcos. His research interests include international politics, security studies, civil-military relations, U.S. foreign policy, ethics and international relations, and political theory. FULL BIO

RESEARCH AREAS

Government Reform, Law and Economics, Public Choice, State and Local Government

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WORLD ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX

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