10 years after handover, Hong Kong still #1 in economic freedom

Nat. Geo. The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have released their annual Index of Economic Freedom for 2007. The Index compares countries across a number of economic variables, including business freedom (how easy it is to start a business), trade freedom, freedom from government intervention, and freedom from corruption. China, wisely, has maintained its hands-off economic ...

604126_wan_chai_05.jpg
604126_wan_chai_05.jpg
Hong Kong, China. Harbor view of the Hong Kong Convention Center and Wan Chai skyline.

Nat. Geo.

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have released their annual Index of Economic Freedom for 2007. The Index compares countries across a number of economic variables, including business freedom (how easy it is to start a business), trade freedom, freedom from government intervention, and freedom from corruption. China, wisely, has maintained its hands-off economic policy since the 1997 handover—Hong Kong again tops the list as the most economically "free" country*, followed by Singapore and Australia. The United States is fourth. Some other interesting (and possibly questionable) findings:

Indonesia, China, Nigeria and Nepal are all significantly freer of government intervention than Australia or the United States
El Salvador rates higher than Norway in terms of overall economic freedom
Malta protects property rights better than Belgium or Japan
It is easier to start a business in Lithuania than Spain
Iceland is the least corrupt country, sitting ahead of New Zealand
* For the sake of the index, Heritage and the WSJ considered Hong Kong and Taiwan countries.

Nat. Geo.

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have released their annual Index of Economic Freedom for 2007. The Index compares countries across a number of economic variables, including business freedom (how easy it is to start a business), trade freedom, freedom from government intervention, and freedom from corruption. China, wisely, has maintained its hands-off economic policy since the 1997 handover—Hong Kong again tops the list as the most economically “free” country*, followed by Singapore and Australia. The United States is fourth. Some other interesting (and possibly questionable) findings:

  • Indonesia, China, Nigeria and Nepal are all significantly freer of government intervention than Australia or the United States
  • El Salvador rates higher than Norway in terms of overall economic freedom
  • Malta protects property rights better than Belgium or Japan
  • It is easier to start a business in Lithuania than Spain
  • Iceland is the least corrupt country, sitting ahead of New Zealand

* For the sake of the index, Heritage and the WSJ considered Hong Kong and Taiwan countries.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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