Do Countries Need Freedom to Achieve Prosperity? Introducing the Atlantic Council Freedom and Prosperity Indexes

  • Description

The Atlantic Council's Freedom and Prosperity Center aims to increase the prosperity of the poor and marginalized in developing countries—and to explore the nature of the relationship between freedom and prosperity in both developing and developed nations. To aid in this task, this report introduces the new Atlantic Council Freedom and Prosperity Indexes.

The Freedom Index measures economic, political, and legal freedom for nearly every country in the world, using the latest available data when the index was constructed at the end of 2021. The Prosperity Index measures economic wellbeing and human flourishing for the same countries and time period. In addition, we collected historical data to allow us to track and analyze change over time. We constructed the same indexes going back in five-year increments for the years 2006, 2011, and 2016; 2006 is the earliest date for which data on our indicators are available.

To be sure, there are limits to any data-collection effort. The world changes quickly, and the data we collected at the end of 2021 may not still represent current realities in every case. Russia, for example, is less free today than when we collected the data, due to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and his related crackdowns at home. In addition, we needed to choose indicators that could be applied across all countries and over time, but these generalized measures may not always fit neatly with the unique circumstances in every country. Still, despite these limitations, we believe that these indexes provide new and valuable information on global freedom and prosperity.

Going forward, we plan to update the indexes annually. The methodology to produce the indexes is straightforward and transparent, and is described in detail in the appendix.

Do Countries Need Freedom to Achieve Prosperity? Introducing the Atlantic Council Freedom and Prosperity Indexes