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Economics professor analyzes U.S. economic freedom

January 10, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849 

The United States has suffered one of the largest declines in economic freedom in the world over the last decade.

In 2000, the United States came in at No. 3 behind Hong Kong and Singapore, but now it has fallen to 10th  behind countries such as Canada, Chile, Australia and the United Kingdom, according to the Economic Freedom of the World’s latest annual report.

This decline is partly due to higher government spending and borrowing, according to Joshua Hall, an assistant professor of economics at Beloit College.  Hall has been a co-author of the Economic Freedom of the World since 2010. The annual report is a project of the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan research and educational organization based in Canada.

Hall and his co-authors say economic freedom is important for long-run growth and prosperity because it has been shown to lead to more investment, higher per-capita incomes, less poverty and more entrepreneurship, while also encouraging cooperation, tolerance and peaceful relations.

In order to improve U.S. economic freedom, Hall said the government needs to reduce government borrowing, eliminate inefficient and outdated regulations, and improve property rights protections and the rule of law.

“When times are bad, governments tend to make policy changes that lower economic freedom,” said Hall, citing tax increases in a recession as an example. “But they need to realize the effect that has on economic freedom and its long-term consequences.”

Source: Joshua Hall is an assistant professor of economics at Beloit College whose expertise lies in applied microeconomics, specifically state and local public finance, economic education, entrepreneurship and economic freedom. A 2007 Ph.D. in economics from West Virginia University, he has authored or co-authored over 100 journal articles, book chapters, academic book reviews, articles and reviews. He was named in 2012 as a co-editor for economics for theJournal of Economics and Finance Education.Hall can serve as a media resource on topics related to his research interests. A full bio and vitae are available at