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Georgia is emerging Europe’s most economically-free country

Georgia is the most economically-free country in emerging Europe, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute.

“I am proud to see Georgia so high in the Economic Freedom report,” said the country’s prime minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze. “These positive results highlight the importance of pursuing ambitious reforms to deliver tangible benefits for the business sector. Georgia is more business-friendly than ever.”

“Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.

Source: Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute defines the cornerstones of economic freedom as being personal choice, voluntary exchange, open markets, and clearly defined and enforced property rights. In other words, economically free individuals are permitted to decide for themselves rather than having options imposed on them by the political process or the use of violence, theft, or fraud by others.

The Fraser Institute defines the cornerstones of economic freedom as being personal choice, voluntary exchange, open markets, and clearly defined and enforced property rights. In other words, economically free individuals are permitted to decide for themselves rather than having options imposed on them by the political process or the use of violence, theft, or fraud by others.

“Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.

Georgia is the only emerging European country to make the top 10, but both Estonia and Lithuania (joint 13th globally) perform well, as does Romania, which makes the top 20 (tied, indeed, with Germany). At the bottom of the list for emerging Europe are Belarus (123rd globally) and Ukraine (134th), rankings which put them both in the fourth quartile of global economic freedom. Kosovo was not listed in the report.

According to the report, countries with greater economic freedom tend to have a higher per capita income (GDP per capita), and unsurprisingly life expectancy is higher in countries that are more economically free (79.45 years compared to 64.40 years in the least free countries). The infant mortality rate is also significantly lower than in the least free countries (6.28 deaths per 1000 births compared to 42.25).

Georgia’s stellar performance owes much to its size of government ranking – the country has few ministries – and a relative lack of bureaucracy, as well as market-friendly labour regulations. Its credit markets also score well (in the region only Lithuania scores higher).

Source: Fraser Institute