University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Economic and Social History Seminars > Assessing economic freedom in historical perspective: the experience of OECD countries

Assessing economic freedom in historical perspective: the experience of OECD countries

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The debate about economic liberty has been mainly restricted to the theoretical level and only in the last decades the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation have provided indices of economic freedom with a wide spatial coverage but a limited time dimension. The lack of a long-run perspective reduces the value of the lessons and policy implications that can be derived from them. In this paper I construct time measures for the main dimensions of economic freedom and, then, provide an aggregate measure of economic liberty for today’s advanced (pre-1994 OECD ) countries over 1850-2007. After introducing the concept of economic freedom I address the choice of historical indicators to proximate each dimension of economic liberty. Trends in economic freedom are, then, presented for the OECD as a whole, its main regions, and individual countries. The results are compared to those of the Fraser Institute’s.

This talk is part of the Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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