by Nick Wilson

Basic premise of the index:
No comprehensive global index combines economic freedom and personal freedom. Our goal was to rectify this, and to factor in government size and taxation as a third category so one can get a gauge of a country's libertarian-ness. As it would be a gigantic undertaking without a formalized research organization to create such an index from scratch, considering all the criteria and research required, the second best solution is to compile already existing freedom indices into one comprehensive average by weighting the averages on the same scale.

Breakdown of categories and weights:
Since the indices had differing scales (for example, Freedom House uses 1 to indicate most free and 7 to indicate least free), the results from each index were sequenced on a scale of 100 to zero, from most to least free. Countries included in all four freedom indices were weighted as follows:

Economic Freedom
Heritage/WSJ overall economic freedom Avg.50%
Fraser/Cato overall economic freedom Avg.50%
Individual Freedom
Freedom House civil liberties average45%
Freedom House political rights average45%
Reporters without Borders freedom of the press average10%
Government Size and Tax
Income tax burden (Heritage)16.6%
Corporate tax burden (Heritage)16.6%
Fiscal burden (Heritage)33.3%
Government size (Fraser)33.3%

Weighting countries with missing data
If a country was missing some elements/not included in one or more of the indices, more weight was given to the other elements in that category's score, but the category is de-emphasized by that proportional amount in the final overall average for the country. Thus, heavier weight was put on the categories that have better information. The lack of information is partially because many of the world's most tyrannical governments closely guard information on government size and fiscal burden. If you look on the cell references in the final.XLS Excel chart, you can see the way the score is broken down in each circumstance. Highlights in the Excel spreadsheet indicate that a result was missing from that category.
The only exception to the practice of heavier weighing for missing data is on Economic Freedom - if a country was missing from one of the two indices, the other index became the full score. Having both indices gives better interpretation, but both were comprehensive enough to satisfy the category. However, the countries not covered by both are indicated by the EF score being highlighted in brown.

If a country did not make all three of the categories or have enough information to be considered comprehensive, the country was left out of the index.

On the personal freedom scores
Some have raised eyebrows over certain countries recieving 100% scores in individual and political liberties. The Freedom House ranked countries 1 (most free) to 7(least free), with no decimals, in these categories. Because of this, when one converts that to a 100 (most free) to 0 (least free) scale, some countries at the top will probably have higher scores than they deserve and some at the bottom will probably have lower scores than they deserve. Assume that this category has a range of error, but note that all countries are equally subject to this.

E-mail me at if you find errors or question the methodology and methods. I did all of this compilation by myself, so I need others to check my facts/math and methods and help keep the index as accurate as possible. While I am not a professional index writer, I believe that the manner in which the index was compiled is factually and mathematically sound. Thanks! - Nick Wilson


In .xls format

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