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ECONOMIC FREEDOM AND INCOME LEVELS ACROSS U.S. STATES: A SPATIAL PANEL DATA ANALYSIS

Joshua Hall, Donald J. Lacombe and Timothy M. Shaughnessy

Contemporary Economic Policy, 2019, vol. 37, issue 1, 40-49

Abstract: There is a large literature estimating the effect of economic freedom on economic growth or income levels. Most studies examine the relationship between economic freedom and growth or income levels for countries, while a few examine the relationship for U.S. states. Absent in the state‐level literature is consideration of the presence of spatial spillovers affecting the freedom‐income relationship. Neglecting to account for spatial autocorrelation can bias estimation results and therefore inferences drawn. We find evidence of a spatial pattern in real per‐capita gross state product (GSP) that affects nonspatial estimates of the freedom‐income relationship. Taking into account the direct and indirect effects of economic freedom on real per‐capita GSP, we find a 10% increase in economic freedom is associated with a 5% increase in real per‐capita GSP. (JEL E02, O47, R11)

Date: 2019
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