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Economic includes these variables:

  • % of Income, Local Government

    A measure of local level taxation, as a percentage of personal income.
  • % of Income, State Government

    Each state's tax burden is measured by calculating state and local tax revenues as a percentage of the state's personal income, excluding motor fuel, mineral severance, alcohol sales, and tobacco sales taxes. Because of interstate investment, commuting, and tourism, tax collections do not always line up with tax burdens on residents.
  • "Mandate-light" or "mandate-free" policies

    Are "mandate-free" or "mandate-light" health insurance policies permitted?
  • Alternative index of plaintiff-friendly civil liability systems

    Alternative index of plaintiff-friendly civil liability systems
  • Anti price gouging law

    Is there an anti price-gouging law?
  • Automatic state licensing agency sunset

    Are state licensing agencies automatically abolished unless legislatively reauthorized following independent sunset review?
  • Certificate of need for hospitals

    Is there a certificate of need requirement for hospitals?
  • Community rating: individuals

    Are there individual market rate restrictions?
  • Community rating: small groups

    A measure of small group health insurance market rate restrictions (ie, community rating). These are effectively a form of price control that redistributes wealth from the healthy to the unhealthy and cost over $9.5 billion a year.
  • Compensation required for or economic assessment required before regulatory

    Is state and local eminent domain policy stricter than federal policy?
  • Cumulative mentions of "land use" in state appellate court decisions as per

    Cumulative mentions of "land use" in state appellate court decisions as percentage of all decisions, 1920 to date
  • Debt, % of Income

    The victim cost for state and local government debt as a share of the state's personal income. The index considers the victims of government debt to be the next generation of taxpayers, 20 years hence.
  • Dental hygienist independent practice

    May dental hygienists initiate treatment without dentist authorization?
  • Direct access to specialists mandated

    Are there mandates for direct access to providers?
  • Direct auto sales

    Are certain categories of auto manufacturers allowed to sell directly to consumers?
  • Education and experience requirements

    Summed education/experience requirements for all occupations licensed.
  • Elimination riders

    Are elimination riders on individual health insurance plans banned?
  • Eminent domain reform index

    Eminent domain reform index
  • Employer verification of legal status

    Is there employer verification of legal resident status?
  • Employment anti-discrimination law covering any non-federal category?

    Employment anti-discrimination law covering any non-federal category?
  • Employment-weighted licensure

    A measure of the extent of licensure.
  • Exam requirements

    A measure of the exam requirements for all occupations licensed.
  • Fees for licensed occupations

    A measure of the fees for all occupations licensed.
  • Financial incentives to providers banned

    Are there bans on financial incentives to providers to withhold covered care?
  • For states with higher than federal minimum wage

    If the state has a higher minimum wage than the federal standard, the higher this variable.
  • General right-to-work law? 1=yes, 0=no

    Is there a general right-to-work law?
  • Government Subsidies Divided by Calendar-Year Personal Income

  • Health insurance mandates index

    A measure of a variety of health insurance mandates. State-level health insurance mandates impose direct costs of nearly $9 billion a year.
  • Individual guaranteed issue

    A measure of rules on guaranteed issue of health plans.
  • Individual health insurance mandate?

    Is there aniIndividual health insurance mandate?
  • Individual rate review

    Is there individual rate review?
  • Interstate insurance product regulations compact

    Is the state a member of interstate insurance product regulation compact?
  • Law bans employers from banning guns on certain company property, such as p

    Law bans employers from banning guns on certain company property, such as parking lots?
  • Local rent control laws exist?

    This variable indicates the presence, or absence, of laws that limit the amount a landlord may charge a tenant.
  • Mandated external greivance review?

    Is there mandated external review for certain types of greivances?
  • Mandated free speech on private property?

    Is there mandated free speech on private property?
  • Mandated standing referrals to specialists

    Are standing referrals to specialists mandated?
  • Mandatory labeling law

    Is there a mandatory labeling law for all GMOs and possible carcinogens?
  • Minimum markup laws

    Minimum markup/sales below cost law for gasoline?
  • Number of licensed occupations

    number of licensed occupations, smaller set for which consistent time-series is available
  • Nurse Licensure Compact membership

    Member of Nurse Licensure Compact, permitting multistate practice?
  • Nurse practitioner independence index

    Nurse practitioner independence index
  • nursing consultation exception

    Does the state explicitly permits nurses to practice in-state if licensed elsewhere?
  • Occupational licensing review commission

    A measure of the exam requirements for all occupations licensed.
  • Paid family leave

    Is there a paid family leave insurance program?
  • Physician assistant prescription independence

    May physician assistants prescribe controlled substances?
  • Public convenience and necessity certificates

    Household goods moving companies must obtain certificate of public convenience and necessity?
  • Rate classification prohibitions

    Are there state rate classification prohibitions for some classes of insurance (age, gender, credit rating, territory, etc.)?
  • Rate filing requirements: homeowners' insurance

    A measure of the state rate filing requirements for homeowners' insurance.
  • Rate filing requirements: life insurance

    A measure of the state rate filing requirements for life insurance.
  • Rate filing requirements: personal auto insurance

    A measure of the state rate filing requirements for personal auto insurance.
  • Rate filing requirements: workers comp

    A measure of the state rate filing requirements for workers comp.
  • Regulatory keyword index

    Index of statutory mentions of regulatory keywords
  • Renewable portfolio standard index

    Renewable portfolio standard index
  • Short-term disability insurance

    Is there a short-term disability insurance program?
  • Small-group rate review

    Is there small-group rate review?
  • State and local government employment divided by private employment

    Estimate of the crowding-out effects of government employment on the private sector.
  • Statewide cable franchising

    Cable legislation for state issued franchise companies
  • Telecom deregulation

    A measure of telecommunication deregulation
  • Unfair pricing strategy ban

    All "unfair" pricing strategies banned (general sales-below-cost law)?
  • Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index

    Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index
  • Workers' comp coverage regulations

    A measure of a variety of workers' compensation regulations.
  • Workers' comp funding regulations

    A meaures of a variety of funding options for workers' compensation.
 Custom See State
change 0 from 2012

Rankings - Economic

1. South Dakota 2. Idaho 3. Tennessee 4. Oklahoma 5. New Hampshire 6. Florida 7. North Dakota 8. Alabama 9. Wyoming 10. Alaska 11. Indiana 12. Georgia 13. Utah 14. Missouri 15. Virginia 16. Iowa 17. Kansas
18. Texas 19. South Carolina 20. Montana 21. Michigan 22. Nebraska 23. Arizona 24. North Carolina 25. Arkansas 26. Nevada 27. Colorado 28. Mississippi 29. Wisconsin 30. Pennsylvania 31. Louisiana 32. Kentucky 33. Ohio 34. Delaware
35. Massachusetts 36. West Virginia 37. Oregon 38. Washington 39. New Mexico 40. Minnesota 41. Vermont 42. Rhode Island 43. Maine 44. Illinois 45. Connecticut 46. Maryland 47. New Jersey 48. Hawaii 49. California 50. New York

Freedom in the 50 States

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How the Rankings Are Calculated

We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.

More on how it's calculated

The Authors

William P. Ruger Picture

William P. Ruger

William P. Ruger is Vice President of Policy and Research at the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation. Ruger is the author of the biography Milton Friedman and a coauthor of The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, and other outlets. Ruger earned an AB from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in politics from Brandeis University. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Jason Sorens Picture

Jason Sorens

Jason Sorens is Lecturer in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. His primary research interests include fiscal federalism, public policy in federal systems, secessionism, and ethnic politics. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and other academic journals, and his book Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2012. Sorens received his BA in economics and philosophy, with honors, from Washington and Lee University and his PhD in political science from Yale University.