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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • James Gwartney, 2009. "2008 Presidential Address: Institutions, Economic Freedom, and Cross-Country Differences in Performance," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 937-956, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:4:y:2009:p:937-956

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:iburev:v:28:y:2019:i:3:p:415-427 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Falguni Pattanaik & Narayan Nayak, 2014. "Economic freedom and economic growth in India: What is the empirical relationship?," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 275-298, November.
    3. Danko Tarabar & Joshua C. Hall, 2016. "Explaining the worldwide decline in the length of mandatory military service, 1970–2010," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(1), pages 55-74, July.
    4. repec:bla:ecaffa:v:39:y:2019:i:1:p:101-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:ecogov:v:20:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10101-018-00220-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:jfr:rwe111:v:7:y:2016:i:1:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lin, Kun-Li & Doan, Anh Tuan & Doong, Shuh-Chyi, 2016. "Changes in ownership structure and bank efficiency in Asian developing countries: The role of financial freedom," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 19-34.
    8. repec:mth:ijafr8:v:8:y:2018:i:4:p:324-351 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fan Zhang & Joshua Hall & Feng Yao, 2018. "Does Economic Freedom Affect The Production Frontier? A Semiparametric Approach With Panel Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(2), pages 1380-1395, April.
    10. Danko Tarabar & Joshua C. Hall, 2015. "Explaining the Worldwide Decline in Military Conscription: 1970-2010," Working Papers 15-30, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    11. Noel D. Campbell & David T. Mitchell & Tammy M. Rogers, 2014. "Measures of entrepreneurship and institutions: a more formal robustness check," Chapters,in: Entrepreneurial Action, Public Policy, and Economic Outcomes, chapter 4, pages 52-82 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Yankow, Jeffrey J., 2014. "A Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of State Economic Freedom on Individual Wages," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 44(1).

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