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2008 Presidential Address: Institutions, Economic Freedom, and Cross-Country Differences in Performance

Listed author(s):
  • James Gwartney


    (Florida State University, 250 South Woodward, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4035, USA)

This address describes the history of the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) project and the development of the EFW index. This index is a measure of the extent to which the institutions and policies of various countries are coordinated by personal choice, voluntary exchange, open markets, and clearly defined and enforced property rights. The index contains 42 different components and is currently available for 141 countries. Data for approximately 100 countries are available back to 1980. The EFW index incorporates many of the elements that new institutional economists argue are important sources of growth. Thus, it facilitates empirical investigation of the institutional theory of growth and crosscountry comparisons of economic performance. In this regard, the paper considers 10 propositions that have been addressed with the index, and what has been learned from this analysis.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 75 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 937-956

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:4:y:2009:p:937-956
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