Hong Kong still has the freest economy in the world, while the United States remains stuck in the mostly free category, according to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, published this week by The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.
On the Index’s scale of zero to 100, the average country score for the world was 59.6 in 2013, about where it has been for the last five years. It was 60.2 in 2008.
The ten freest economies in the world in are Hong Kong, Sinagapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Denmark, and the United States. The five unfreest economies in the world are Eritrea (173), Venezuela (174), Zimbabwe (175), Cuba (176), and North Korea (177).
The United States had the fifth freest economy in the world in 2008, but has fallen steadily in the rankings since then. The United States scored 76.0 this year, 0.3 points lower than last year. The Unites States’s economic freedom score has declined for six consecutive years since 2007 when its score was 81.2. The Index’s economic freedom score is based on ten components. Most of the U.S. decline over that period is accounted for by lower scores in four of those components: government spending (less is better); investment freedom (free movement of capital), financial freedom (limited bank regulations), and monetary freedom (stable currency). The U.S. scores for property rights, business freedom, and corruption have also all declined in the past six years.