About the Fifth Edition
This 2018 edition of Freedom in the 50 States presents a completely revised and updated ranking of the American states on the basis of how their policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and personal realms.
This edition again improves on the methodology for weighting and combining state and local policies to create a comprehensive index. Authors William Ruger and Jason Sorens introduce many new policy variables suggested by readers. More than 230 policy variables and their sources are now available to the public on a new website for the study. Scholars, policymakers, and concerned citizens can assign new weights to every policy and create customized indices of freedom or download the data for their own analyses.
In the 2018 edition, the authors have updated their findings to
- Improve estimates of the “freedom value” of each policy (the estimated dollar value of each freedom affected to those who enjoy it);
- Provide the most up-to-date freedom index yet, including scores as of December 31, 2016;
- Include state and local cash and security assets as a factor partially offsetting debt burdens;
- Significantly expand policies affecting business and personal freedom, including new variables for land-use regulation, health insurance freedom, the collateral costs of arrest and incarceration, and gambling freedom;
- Refine the index of cronyism and update results on how states’ cronyist regulations correlate with corruption and interest group power; and
- Analyze how the policies driving income growth and interstate migration have changed pre– and post–Great Recession.
In addition to providing the latest rankings for year-end 2016, the 2018 edition provides annual data on economic and personal freedom and their components back to 2000.
Published by the Cato Institute and accompanied by demographic and economic data on each state, Freedom in the 50 States is an essential desk reference for anyone interested in state policy and in advancing a better understanding of a free society.