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Iran Ranks Near Bottom Of World Economic Freedom Index

Iran -- low-income Iranians line up to receive food supplies in southern Tehran, 03feb2014

Iran ranks 143rd in the world economic freedom index says the latest report published by the Canadian Fraser Institute on Thursday, September 12.

The annual report measures the economic situation in 162 countries and territories across the world.

Two Asian economies, Hong Kong and Singapore, are once again the most economically free territories in the world.

Hong Kong has been at the top of the table of Fraser's list since 1970. However, the report says China's heavy hand ominously threatens Hong Kong's top ranking.

Immediately following the two far eastern economies, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Maurice, in Africa, have secured the top-ranking spots, respectively.

Meanwhile, Venezuela and Libya are at the bottom of the table, behind Sudan, Algeria, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Egypt, Congo, and Iraq.

The Islamic Republic of Iran's ranking 143rd has stayed in the same spot since 2015, while it used to be in the 99th place in the 1980s and 1990s.

Iran fared much better before the 1979 revolution in terms of economic freedom. After 1980, the Islamic Republic began a massive nationalization drive which included major factories and banks, as well as price controls and strict regulation of imports and foreign investments.

Fraser Institute Economic Freedom of the World: 2019 Annual Report
Fraser Institute Economic Freedom of the World: 2019 Annual Report

The report measures the economic freedom and the ability of individuals to make their own financial decisions by analyzing policies and institutions of 162 countries and territories across the world. The measures include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, sound legal system, property rights, and government spending and taxation.

Iran also suffers from widespread corruption, due to political interference in the economy and monopolization of business by powerful military-political groups.

People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives.

In the meantime, countries in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of $36,770 in 2017 compared to $6,140 for bottom quartile countries. In the top quartile, 1.8 percent of the population experienced extreme poverty (US$1.90 a day) compared to 27.2 percent in the lowest quartile.

Finally, life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 64.4 years in the bottom quartile.

The rankings of other significant countries include Japan (17th), Germany (20th), Italy (46th), France (50th), Mexico (76th), India (79th), Russia (85th), China (113th) and Brazil (120th).

The Fraser Institute produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes across the globe. It's the world's premier measurement of economic freedom.

The report was prepared by James Gwartney, Florida State University; Robert A. Lawson and Ryan Murphy of Southern Methodist University; and Joshua Hall, West Virginia University.