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The Benefits of Economic Freedom: A Survey

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Economic Freedom Index, Företagandets villkor, Globalisering, Niclas Berggren, Tillväxt
The Benefits of Economic Freedom
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Abstract

The most ambitious study of its kind, the Economic Freedom Index (EFI), published annually in Economic Freedom of the World, has inspired scholars to examine more closely the effect of economic freedom on economic growth, income equality, and quality of life. Although not without limitations, the EFI supports Adam Smith’s contention that free-market processes, more than any alternatives, can advance wealth and welfare.

Related content: Working Paper No. 4

Berggren, N. (2003). ”The Benefits of Economic Freedom: A Survey.”The IndependentReview, 8(2): 193-211.

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Choosing One’s Own Informal Institutions
Article (with peer review)Publication
Berggren, N.
Publication year

2009

Abstract

In the main, Hayek favored rules that apply equally to all and located such rules in tradition, beyond conscious construction. This led Hayek to attack Keynes’s immoralism, i.e., the position that one should be free to choose how to lead one’s life irrespective of the informal institutions in place. However, it is argued here that immoralism may be compatible with Hayek’s enterprise since Hayek misinterpreted Keynes, who did not advocate the dissolving of all informal rules for everybody. By avoiding this misinterpretation, immoralism can be seen as institutional experimentation at the margin, which Hayek himself favored.

Related content: Working Paper No. 118

Legal Positivism and Property Rights
Article (with peer review)Publication
Berggren, N.
Publication year

2006

Abstract

Scholars such as Friedrich Hayek and Aleksander Peczenik have criticized legal positivism for undermining constitutionalism and the rule of law, an implication of which is weakened private property rights. This conclusion is far from evident. First, I contend that legal positivism is compatible with a strong support for property rights. Second, the causal relationship between legal positivism and the degree to which property rights are applied and protected is analyzed. The main arguments for a negative relationship—that legal positivism centralizes and politicizes legislation and that it makes the legal culture servile in relation to the political sphere—are considered unconvincing.

Related content: Working Paper No. 78

Does Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism?
Article (with peer review)Publication
Berggren, N.
Publication year

2004

Published in
Abstract

Classical liberalism stresses the desirability of free markets, limited government and the rule of law. As such, it builds on some moral judgments. According to ethical objectivism, such judgments (in themselves always personal and subjective) can be true or false since objective moral facts exist against which the judgments can be assessed. Ethical subjectivism denies the existence of objective moral facts. This paper asks: Does it matter whether people believe that objective moral facts exist – in general and for a defense of classical liberalism? It is argued that the answer is in the negative. The implication for classical liberal strategy is that attempts to argue that a certain metaethical foundation is needed should be abandoned.

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