Evolution of economic freedom in the countries of South America and the European Union during the years 1996–2022

Bartłomiej LACH
Analyx sp. z o.o. in Poznań
https ://orcid.org/0000-0002-2023-0378

Krzysztof MALAGA
Université des Sciences Économiques et de Gestion
https ://orcid.org/0000-0001-7079-9880

Abstract : The objective of the article is to describe and evaluate the evolution of economic freedom in the countries of South America and the European Union in the years 1996–2022. The basis of inference are the coefficients of economic freedom published since 1995 by The Heritage Foundation in Washington and Wall Street Journal for 184 countries around the world.

The comparative analysis is carried out by country and in three sub-groups, which are : the countries of South America, the European countries which joined the European Union before 2003 (EU1) and after 2003 (EU2). In the empirical research, correlation, σ-convergence, σ-divergence and multivariate comparative analysis methods are used. The R program and the dtw and dtwclust packages are also applied. Accordingly, an in-depth assessment of the evolution of economic freedom was carried out in the 41 countries as­sessed, as well as separately in the three groups of countries analysed. It has been shown that in terms of economic freedom, EU1 countries outperform EU2 and South American countries. In conclusion, general remarks are presented on the relationship between the stages of changes in economic freedom and the institutional reforms aimed at a more complete democratization of countries and the development of a modern market economy.

Keywords : economic freedom, σ-convergence and σ-divergence analysis, multidimensional comparative analysis, clusters, dendrograms.

JEL classification : O57, P20, P29, P52.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.18559/RIELF.2023.1.11