BEIRUT: The Fraser Institute’s annual index of Economic Freedom in the Arab world ranked Lebanon in third place in 2010 among 15 countries included in the survey, unchanged from 2009 and up from fourth place in 2008 and 2007, as reported by Byblos Bank’s Lebanon This Week.
The index measures the degree of economic freedom in each country on the basis of 18 variables that are divided into five broad factors of economic freedom. The factors measure the size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and the regulation of credit, labor and business.
Lebanon received a score of 7.6 points on a scale of 1 to 10, down from 7.7 points in 2009 but unchanged from 2008, and higher than the Arab average of 6.9 points.
Lebanon ranked first on the size of government category, the fifth year in a row that Lebanon tops the region in terms of the small size of the government relative to its economy. Also, Lebanon came behind Kuwait and ahead of Saudi Arabia on the Access to Sound Money category, which measures the extent that a nation’s currency is sound and holds its value over time. It ranked first in the region on the Access to Sound Money in 2009 and third in 2008.
In parallel, Lebanon ranked behind Egypt and ahead of Algeria on the Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights category. This category examines whether laws, primarily dealing with economic matters, are fairly and transparently applied in a timely manner, and whether property rights and contracting are protected by the rule of law.
Also, Lebanon ranked behind Saudi Arabia and ahead of Mauritania on the Freedom of Trade Internationally category, which measures the extent to which businesses and individuals can freely trade with their counterparts in other nations. It came in 11th place in each of 2010, 2009 and 2008. Further, Lebanon came behind Saudi Arabia and ahead of Oman in terms of Regulation of Credit Labor and Business. This category measures the extent to which the regulatory burden hinders the formation or advancement of businesses, the free movement of labor, and ability to obtain or advance credit.
The Fraser Institute is a Canada-based independent research organization whose mission is to study and measure the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on welfare of individuals.
It attempts to discuss complex economic subjects by bringing together academics, economists, and policy analysts from around the world.
The 2010 survey is based on figures for end 2008, while the 2009 survey is based on updated figures for 2007. – The Daily Star