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Economic Freedom in the Long Run: Evidence from OECD Countries (1850-2007)

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  • Prados de la Escosura, Leandro

Abstract

This paper presents historical indices for the main dimensions of economic freedom and an aggregate index for nowadays developed countries -(pre-1994) OECD, for short-. Economic liberty expanded over the last one-and-a-half centuries, reaching two thirds of its maximum possible. Its evolution has been, however, far from linear. After a substantial improvement since mid-nineteenth century, World War I brought a major setback. The post-war recovery up to 1929 was followed by a dramatic decline in the 1930s and significant progress took place during the Golden Age but fell short from the pre-World War I peak. A steady expansion since the early 1980s has resulted in the highest levels of economic liberty of the last two centuries. Each main dimension of economic freedom exhibited a distinctive trend and its contribution to the aggregate index varied over time. Nonetheless, improved property rights provided the main contribution to the long-run advancement of economic liberty.

Suggested Citation

  • Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2014. "Economic Freedom in the Long Run: Evidence from OECD Countries (1850-2007)," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp14-02, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp14-02
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. OECD countries are currently experiencing their highest levels of economic freedom in modern history
      by ? in USAPP on 2014-07-22 15:14:00
    2. OECD countries are currently experiencing their highest levels of economic freedom in modern history
      by Blog Admin in British Politics and Policy at LSE on 2014-07-19 16:00:55
    3. OECD countries are currently experiencing their highest levels of economic freedom in modern history
      by Blog Admin in EUROPP European Politics and Policy on 2014-07-16 19:15:35
    4. La libertad económica en el largo plazo: Evidencia de los países de la OCDE
      by ? in Nada es Gratis on 2014-04-21 10:00:00

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    3. Rosolino A. Candela & Vincent Geloso, 2021. "Economic freedom, pandemics, and robust political economy," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 87(4), pages 1250-1266, April.
    4. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2023. "Economic freedom in retrospect," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 37433, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    5. Kufenko, Vadim & Geloso, Vincent, 2021. "Who are the champions? Inequality, economic freedom and the Olympics," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 411-427, June.
    6. António Henriques & Nuno Palma, 2023. "Comparative European Institutions and the Little Divergence, 1385–1800," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 259-294, June.
    7. Jamie Bologna & Joshua C. Hall, 2014. "Economic Freedom Research: Some Comments and Suggestions," Working Papers 14-23, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    8. Vincent Geloso & Kelly Hyde & Ilia Murtazashvili, 2022. "Pandemics, economic freedom, and institutional trade-offs," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 37-61, August.
    9. Mariya Aleksynska & Sandrine Cazes, 2016. "Composite indicators of labour market regulations in a comparative perspective," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-33, December.
    10. Judit Kapás & Pál Czeglédi, 2017. "Institutions and policies of economic freedom: different effects on income and growth," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 34(2), pages 259-282, August.
    11. Pierre L. Siklos, 2022. "Did the great influenza of 1918–1920 trigger a reversal of the first era of globalization?," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 459-490, July.
    12. Niklas Elert & Dan Johansson & Mikael Stenkula & Niklas Wykman, 2023. "The evolution of owner-entrepreneurs’ taxation: five tax regimes over a 160-year period," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 517-540, April.
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    14. Vincent Geloso & Jamie Bologna Pavlik, 2021. "Economic Freedom And The Economic Consequences Of The 1918 Pandemic," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 255-263, April.

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    Keywords

    Negative freedom;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P10 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - General

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