Policy Papers Series

Policy Papers Series

Policy Papers

The Johnson Center occasionally publishes research regarding matters of importance to the State of Alabama and the region of the Southeast United States. These papers serve to educate the public and to inform policymakers and other leaders about the economic theories and implications involved in different areas of public policy.


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Date Posted: April 29th, 2016

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Date Posted: March 3rd, 2014

The 2021 Economic Freedom of North America rankings have been released and economic freedom increased in Alabama this past year.  Alabama’s score of 6.39 (out of 10) was up from 5.79 last year and ranked 29th among states.  A more comprehensive measure including the impact in our state of Federal government policies ranks Alabama 17th. 

Economic freedom is the ability of people to make decisions about what to buy, where to work, and whether to start a business.  Economic freedom is an important component of personal autonomy and the freedom to live as we choose.  States and nations with more economic freedom are more prosperous, have better health outcomes, cleaner environments, and greater levels of happiness. 

Across the nation, New Hampshire ranks as the freest state for the seventh consecutive year, with a score of 7.83.  Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Virginia round out the top five.  The bottom five are New Mexico (46th), West Virginia, Vermont, California, and New York, in last place again this year with a score of 4.33. 

The Economic Freedom of North America report is authored annually by Dean Stansel, José Torra and Fred McMahon and published by Canada’s Fraser Institute.  Measuring economic freedom accurately is crucial in confirming the links between freedom, prosperity and happiness.  The Johnson Center is a member of the EFNA Network, a continent-wide group of centers and researchers dedicated to the ongoing effort to improve the measurement of our freedom to choose and do business.