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Economic Freedom: Theory First, Empiricism After

Judit Kapas () and Pál Czeglédi ()

ICER Working Papers from ICER - International Centre for Economic Research

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to argue in favor of theoretically well-founded empirical examinations on how economic freedom affects economic performance, which is not the case, as we argue, in most of the huge empirical literature developed after the construction of various indexes of economic freedom. In this spirit we develop a concept of economic freedom based on Hayek (1960): absence of coercion except for state coercion to enforce known general rules. Trying to formulate Hayek’s ideas on a less abstract level, as a step further we propose a categorization of government actions, which gives us some guidance about which government actions hurt and which do not hurt economic freedom. Our concept of economic freedom allows us to conceptualize the measurement of economic freedom in a different way from the indexes of economic freedom.

Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2007-03
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