The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

December 02, 2014 06:15 ET

Alberta Leads North America in Economic Freedom, Maritime Provinces Lag Far Behind

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 2, 2014) - Alberta has the highest level of economic freedom among all Canadian provinces and U.S. and Mexican states, according to a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"In Alberta, high levels of economic freedom have helped create prosperity and economic growth for Albertans and their families," said Fred McMahon, the Fraser Institute's Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom and co-author of Economic Freedom of North America 2014.

The report ranks jurisdictions based on their levels of economic freedom (measured in size of government, taxation, regulation, rule of law, etc.) using data from 2012, the most recent year of available data. It spotlights the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces.

After Alberta, Saskatchewan ranks second overall followed by Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia (tied for 3rd overall), Ontario (6th), Manitoba and Quebec (tied for 18th), New Brunswick (30th), Nova Scotia (52nd) and Prince Edward Island (65th).

Texas is the highest ranked U.S. state (tied for 3rd overall) while Coahuila de Zaragoza is the highest ranked Mexican state (tied with 21 other jurisdictions at 30th overall).

Back in Canada, the average per-capita GDP of the top three provinces in 2012 was just over $72,000 (Cdn) compared to just under $40,000 (Cdn) for the three lowest provinces.

Across the continent, jurisdictions (including the Canadian provinces) in the bottom, least free quartile of the rankings in 2012 had an average per-capita GDP of $9,979 (Cdn) compared to $56,697 (Cdn) for the most free quartile.

"The link between economic freedom and prosperity is clear-provinces that support low taxation, limited government and flexible labour markets enjoy greater economic growth while provinces with lower levels of economic freedom see lower living standards and fewer economic opportunities," McMahon said.

The Economic Freedom of North America report is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World index, the result of a quarter century of work by more than 60 scholars including three Nobel laureates. Download the complete study at www.freetheworld.com.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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