Economic Policy Review ISSN 1313 - 0544

Bulgaria is 42nd in the First Worldwide Index of Human Freedom

25.01.2013
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In developed countries personal liberty outpaces economic freedom

New Zealand is leader in human freedom, followed by the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada and Ireland, according to the first edition of the Worldwide Index of Human Freedom published today by the Fraser Institute and the German Liberal Institute with support from the American Cato Institute.

This is the first study to combine both economic and personal freedoms. It is based on the annual Economic Freedom of the World by Fraser Institute and builds on them by bringing a new personal freedom component.

Bulgaria

The index for Bulgaria shows that we have more personal than economic freedoms which is typical of developed countries and especially the European ones.

Bulgaria

Personal Freedom

Economic Freedom

Freedom Index

8.0 

7.2

7.6

 

The problematic areas for Bulgaria when it comes to personal freedom are not surprising:

  • personal safety is not well guaranteed (torture, theft, high level of perceived criminality)
  • lack of security when it comes to freedom of speech and media independence
  • some hostility towards certain social activities (mostly religious)

These results confirm and complement the well-known problems with economic freedom – inability to provide justice and equal treatment. Violence that undermines personal liberties, corruption and breaking of contractual agreements that restrict economic freedom are the key issues for Bulgaria.

Whether we can enjoy investment and economic growth or whether we can consider ourselves free citizens depends on how the rules in this country are abided by. For the rule of law to prevail we need and independent justice system, working law enforcement agencies and an effective and less corrupted civil administration.

Europe

The results for Europe show a substantial difference between personal and economic freedoms in favor of the former in every corner of the continent. There are differences though – Southern countries score less both on economic and on personal freedom compared to countries in the North. It is evident that among developed countries wealthier are those that can guarantee the freedoms of their citizens. It is interesting to compare Europe with North America – North Europeans fare better when it comes to personal freedoms but lag behind when it comes to economic ones.

Combining personal and economic freedom can lead to drastic changes in the world league table that we already know from the purely economic index. The Netherlands are moving up because of personal freedom and reaching second place, while Japan enters the top ten group (again because of personal liberties). Among the first ten countries we can find Estonia which is an example of a country with good scores in both economic and personal liberty. On the other end of the spectrum Singapore’s lack of personal liberty sends the otherwise very free economy close to Bulgaria’s score.

Main Categories

Somewhat expected, as far as the study of personal freedom is concerned, freedom of movement ranks highest, and freedom of expression - lowest.

 

Correlation between Freedom and Democracy

The correlation between freedom and democracy is clear and expected:

 

Ranking of Selected Countries: Worldwide Index of Human Freedom

 

   

PERSONAL FREEDOM

ECONOMIC FREEDOM

FREEDOM INDEX

1

New Zealand

9.2

8.22

8.73

2

Netherlands

9.5

7.45

8.47

3

Hong-Kong

7.8

9.02

8.39

4

Australia

8.8

7.83

8.33

5

Canada

8.7

7.92

8.33

6

Ireland

9.0

7.68

8.33

7

United States of America

8.7

7.93

8.30

8

Denmark

8.9

7.71

8.30

9

Japan

9.2

7.38

8.28

10

Estonia

8.9

7.65

8.28

16

Chile

8.2

7.99

8.12

18

United Kingdom

8.4

7.78

8.08

23

Spain

8.8

7.19

8.00

29

Sweden

8.6

7.26

7.91

33

France

8.4

7.20

7.78

35

Germany

8.0

7.47

7.75

40

Italy

8.5

6.75

7.62

42

Bulgaria

8.0

7.18

7.60

50

Brazil

8.5

6.18

7.35

65

Greece

7.1

6.92

7.03

66

Romania

7.6

6.43

7.03

89

Russia

5.9

6.57

6.25

100

China

5.1

6.44

5.76

121

Pakistan

3.1

5.80

4.47

 

All materials from the new ‘Worldwide Index of Human Freedom” are available here.