Causes and barriers to increases in economic freedom

Raymond J. March, Conrad Lyford, Benjamin Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We investigate the causes of increases in economic freedom by examining a cross section of countries from 1990 to 2010 and examining factors that have previously been associated with increases in freedom alongside other factors which have been found to be important for growth. We find that higher initial GNI per capita is associated with larger subsequent increases in economic freedom and countries are less likely to improve their freedom the higher their initial level of freedom, energy exports, and ethnolinguistic fractionalization. When we test subsamples, we find that little explains changes in freedom in countries with high levels of initial freedom, initially high incomes, and that did not receive foreign aid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-103
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Review of Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Economic development
  • Economic freedom
  • Ethnolinguistic fractionalization
  • Natural resource curse


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