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Fall 2014
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 29, Number 3

Economic Freedom and Quality of Life: Evidence from the OECD’s Your Better Life Index

Boris Nikolaev, Oxford College of Emory University
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise29(3),2014,6196EconomicFreedomandQualityofLife:EvidencefromtheOECDsYourBetterLifeIndexBorisNikolaevOxfordCollegeofEmoryUniversity______________________________________________________AbstractMeasuresofmaterialstandardsoflivingsuchasgrossdomesticproductdominatenationaldebatesonsocialandeconomicprogress.Suchmeasures,however,oftenfailtocaptureimportantdimensionsofqualityofliferelatedtothestrengthofsocialnetworks,qualityofeducation,frequencyofcivicengagement,personalhealth,andpsychologicalwell-being.Inthispaper,Iprovidesomepreliminaryevidenceontherelationshipbetweeneconomicfreedomandmorethantwentyindicatorsofqualityoflifeseparatedintoelevendimensionsofwell-beingfromarecentlydevelopedwell-beingindex,YourBetterLifeIndex,bytheOrganizationofEconomicCooperationandDevelopment(OECD).Ifindthateconomicfreedomisstronglyandpositivelycorrelatedwithmostoftheseareasofwell-beingevenafterIcontrolforthepositiveimpactofincome.Moreimportantly,however,thestrongesteffectofeconomicfreedomisassociatedwithsomeofthenonmaterialdimensionsofqualityoflifesuchascommunity,safety,andlifesatisfaction,whicharestillunderresearchedareasintheeconomicfreedomliterature.AdditionalevidencefromtheHumanDevelopmentIndexfrom1972to2010foralargesetofdevelopedanddevelopingcountriesfurthershowsthatchangesineconomicfreedomfosterhumandevelopmentinboththeshortrun(fiveyears)andthelongrun(tenyears).______________________________________________________JELCodes:O10,I31,H10Keywords:Economicfreedom,Qualityoflife,FormalinstitutionsI.IntroductionMeasuresofmaterialstandardsoflivingsuchasgrossdomesticproduct(GDP),orhouseholdandindividualincome,dominatenationaldebatesaboutsocialandeconomicprogress.Economistshaveusedsuchmeasuresasaproxyforwell-beingdespitelimitations61
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