The index used a number of key measures when assessing economic freedom in 151 countries, including level of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately owned property and rule of law.
The list was topped by Hong Kong, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Jordan and (tied for 10th) Chile and Finland. The USA, once considered the pillar of economic freedom, has slipped to 12th spot.
“The United States has suffered from a weakened rule of law, the ramifications of wars on terrorism and drugs, and a confused regulatory environment. Consequently, it’s dropped from second place in the world rankings in 2000 to 12th place this year, five spots behind Canada,” said Fraser Institute’s Michael Walker.
The 10 lowest-ranked countries were Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Chad, Iran, Algeria, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo and Venezuela.