World Economy

World Economic Freedom Rankings Announced

World Economic Freedom Rankings AnnouncedWorld Economic Freedom Rankings Announced

The 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, published Monday, logged its highest average score despite declines in leaders Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as in the United States.

The index, covering the mid-2014 to mid-2015 periods, ranks 178 economies based on 10 criteria, including market freedom, corruption, taxes, government spending and property rights, Sputnik reported.

“The world average score of 60.7 is the highest recorded in the 22-year history of the index,” The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal said in a press release.

Terry Miller, co-editor of the Index, attributed the eight-year decline that put the United States in 11th overall, to President Barack Obama’s policies. “The US score declined repeatedly during the Obama years thanks to dramatically increased government spending and regulations, a failed stimulus program that enriched the well-connected but left average Americans behind, and laws such as the Affordable Care Act, which denied the right of individuals to keep the health plans they already had, and as the president had promised,” Miller wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

In Asia, Hong Kong maintained the world’s “freest economy” status despite a 1.0-point drop. Singapore, the second freest economy, dropped by 1.6 points. Australia and New Zealand ranked third and fifth respectively. India was ranked 123rd with an improvement of 1.6 points in its overall score.

In North America, Canada, the United States and Mexico all registered declines in economic freedoms. Nevertheless, their region managed to retain its status as the world’s freest.

The overall score of Bulgaria is 65.9, the country recording a decrease of 0.9 point compared to the previous edition of the Index. The country ranks 28th in Europe, with its score being above the world average, but below the European average.

Chile and the Bahamas topped the list in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Bahrain remained the top performer in the Middle East and North African region, while Mauritius and Botswana ranked “mostly free” in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Half of the world’s 20 freest economies are in Europe, led by Switzerland, Ireland, Estonia and the United Kingdom. Russia ranked “mostly unfree” alongside Croatia, Greece and other eastern European economies.