Delaware was tied 38thamong the 50 states and 54th in North America in economic freedom, according to a report from the Fraser Institute.
Fraser’s Economic Freedom of North America report measures government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions using data from 2016, the most recent year of available data.
“The freest economies operate with comparatively less government interference, relying more on personal choice and markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced. As government imposes restrictions on these choices, there’s less economic freedom,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr. Michael A. Walker research chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and co-author.
Delaware’s ranking was an improvement over 2015. During that year the state was listed as the least free economy in the nation. (See link below). The ranking was virtually unchanged from 2017.
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Rounding out the top five freest states are Texas (3rd), Tennessee (4th) and South Dakota (5th). For the fourth year in a row, New York was ranked least free (50th), followed by Kentucky (49th), West Virginia (48th), California (47th) and Alaska (46th).
The report also includes an additional all-government ranking, which adds federal government policy to the index and includes the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces.
Delaware typically ranks low in reports that center on issues such as taxation, regulation and the lack of a right to work law that bars mandatory union dues. Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey ranked ahead of Delaware.
In the most-free states, the average per capita income in 2016 was 7.3 percent above the national average compared to roughly 10.5 percent below the national average in the least free states.
The report showed the U.S. pulling slightly ahead of Canada in economic freedom as new provincial governments added regulations and taxes. Both nations are well ahead of Mexico.
The report was also co-authored by José Torra, the head of research at the Mexico City-based Caminos de la Libertad, is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index, the result of more than a quarter century of work by more than 60 scholars including three Nobel laureates.
The Fraser Institute describes itself as an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank. It has also been described as a conservative-libertarian organization.