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The world’s top 20 'free economies'

We reveal the top 20 countries on the Index of Economic Freedom, produced by US think-thank Heritage Foundation for the 20th year.

20. Sweden

‘Sweden’s economic freedom score is 73.1, making its economy the 20th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score has increased by 0.2 point since last year, with improvements in fiscal freedom and trade freedom outweighing combined small declines in business freedom, labour freedom, and freedom from corruption. Sweden is ranked 10th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is above the world and regional averages.’

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19. Finland

‘Finland’s economic freedom score is 73.4, making its economy the 19th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is 0.6 point worse than last year, due primarily to deteriorations in fiscal freedom, business freedom, and the management of government spending. Finland is ranked 9th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is well above the world average.’

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18. Germany

‘Germany’s economic freedom score is 73.4, making its economy the 18th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.6 point better than last year, reflecting modest improvements in investment freedom, labour freedom, and trade freedom. Germany is ranked 8th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its score exceeds the world and regional averages.’

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17. Taiwan

‘Taiwan’s economic freedom score is 73.9, making its economy the 17th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is 1.2 points higher than last year, with significant improvements in financial freedom and investment freedom outweighing small declines in six of the 10 economic freedoms including freedom from corruption. Taiwan is ranked 5th out of 42 economies in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is higher than the world average.’

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16. Luxembourg

‘Luxembourg’s economic freedom score is 74.2, making its economy the 16th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is unchanged from last year, with improvements in labour freedom and trade freedom offset by declines in business freedom and fiscal freedom. Luxembourg is ranked 7th out of 43 countries in the Europe region.’

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15. The Netherlands

‘The Netherlands’ economic freedom score is 74.2, making its economy the 15th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is 0.7 point better than last year, with a strong improvement in business freedom more than balancing modest declines in several other freedoms. The Netherlands is ranked 6th out of 43 countries in the Europe region.’

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14. United Kingdom

‘The United Kingdom’s economic freedom score is 74.9, making its economy the 14th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is essentially the same as last year, with modest improvements in government spending, labour freedom, monetary freedom, and trade freedom offset by deteriorations in business freedom, freedom from corruption, and fiscal freedom. The UK is ranked 5th out of 43 countries in the Europe region.’

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13. Bahrain

‘Bahrain’s economic freedom score is 75.1, making its economy the 13th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 0.4 point due to slight deteriorations in labour freedom, trade freedom, and freedom from corruption. Bahrain continues to be the freest economy in the Middle East/North Africa region, and its economic freedom score is well above the world average.’

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12. United States

‘The United States, with an economic freedom score of 75.5, is the 12th freest economy in the 2014 Index. Its score is half a point lower than last year, primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom. The US is ranked 2nd out of three countries in the North America region, and although its score remains well above the world and regional averages, it is no longer one of the top 10 freest economies.’

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11. Estonia

‘Estonia’s economic freedom score is 75.9, making its economy the 11th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.6 point higher than last year, with improvements in property rights and trade freedom offsetting a small combined decline in business freedom and the management of public spending. Estonia is ranked 4th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is well above the regional and world averages.’

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10. Denmark

‘Denmark’s economic freedom score is 76.1, making its economy the 10th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is the same as last year, with improvements in investment freedom and trade freedom counterbalanced by declines in the management of public spending and fiscal freedom. Trailing Switzerland and Ireland, Denmark is ranked 3rd out of 43 countries in the Europe region.’

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9. Ireland

‘Ireland’s economic freedom score is 76.2, making its economy the 9th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score has increased by 0.5 point from last year due to improvements in trade freedom, labour freedom, and the management of public finance that offset small declines in monetary freedom and freedom from corruption. The Irish economy has become the second freest economy in the Europe region and has regained a place among the world’s top 10 freest economies.’

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8. Mauritius

‘Mauritius’s economic freedom score is 76.5, making its economy the 8th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.4 point lower than last year, with declines in investment freedom, property rights, and business freedom that outweigh improvements in labour freedom, freedom from corruption, and monetary freedom. Mauritius is ranked 1st out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.’

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7. Chile

‘Chile’s economic freedom score is 78.7, making its economy the 7th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is slightly lower than last year, with an improvement in investment freedom offset by combined declines in labour freedom, business freedom, and fiscal freedom. Continuing as one of the 10 freest economies in the Index, Chile enjoys the highest degree of economic freedom in the South and Central America/Caribbean region.’

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6. Canada

‘Canada’s economic freedom score is 80.2, making its economy the 6th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.8 point better than last year, reflecting improvements in investment freedom, the management of government spending, and monetary freedom. Canada continues to be the freest economy in the North America region.’

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5. New Zealand

‘New Zealand’s economic freedom score is 81.2, making its economy the 5th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is slightly lower than last year, reflecting modest declines in four economic freedoms, including business freedom and freedom from corruption, that outweigh improvements in monetary freedom and labour freedom. New Zealand is ranked 4th out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region.’

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4. Switzerland

‘Switzerland’s economic freedom score is 81.6, making its economy the 4th freest for the first time ever in the 2014 Index. Its score is 0.6 point higher than last year, with improvements in trade freedom and the management of public spending partially offset by declines in monetary freedom and labor freedom. Switzerland is ranked 1st out of 43 countries in the Europe region.’

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3. Australia

‘Australia’s economic freedom score is 82, making its economy the 3rd freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.6 point lower than last year, with a gain in investment freedom outweighed by declines in monetary freedom and labour freedom. Australia is ranked 3rd out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region.’

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2. Singapore

‘Singapore’s economic freedom score is 89.4, making its economy the 2nd freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is 1.4 points better than last year, reflecting improvements in investment freedom and labour freedom that outweigh small declines in monetary freedom and business freedom. Singapore is ranked 2nd out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region.’

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1. Hong Kong

The Index of Economic Freedom said: ‘Hong Kong’s economic freedom score is 90.1, making it the top-rated economy in the Index for the 20th consecutive year. Its overall score is slightly better than last year due to improvements in government size and regulatory efficiency that offset a decline in freedom from corruption. Hong Kong is ranked 1st out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region and 1st in the world.’

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