Economic theory and a growing body of empirical research support the idea that economic freedom is an important ingredient to long-run economic prosperity. However, the determinants of economic freedom are much less understood than the benefits that freedom provides. Economic Freedom and Prosperity addresses this major gap in our knowledge. If private property and economic freedom are essential for achieving and maintaining a high standard of living, it is crucial to understand how improvements in these areas have been achieved and whether there are lessons that can be replicated in less free areas of the world today.

In this edited collection, contributors investigate this research question through multiple methodologies. Beginning with three chapters that theoretically explore ways in which economic freedom might be better achieved, it then moves on to a series of empirical chapters that examine questions including the speed and permanence of reform, the deep long-run determinants of economic freedom, the relationship between voice and exit in impacting freedom, the role of crises in generating change, and immigration. Finally, the book considers the evolution of freedom in China, development economics, and international trade, and it concludes with a consideration of what is necessary to promote a humane liberalism consistent with economic freedom.

Economic Freedom and Prosperity will be of great interest to all social scientists concerned with issues of institutional change. It will particularly appeal to those concerned with economic development and the determinants of an environment of economic freedom.

chapter |8 pages


ByBenjamin Powell

part I|52 pages


chapter 1|21 pages

Taming Leviathan

ByPeter J. Boettke, Liya Palagashvili

chapter 2|16 pages

Constitutional drift and political dysfunction

Underappreciated maladies of the political commons
ByAlexander William Salter

chapter 3|13 pages

The limits of liberalism

Good boundaries must be discovered
ByAdam Martin

part II|136 pages

Empirical explorations and case studies

chapter 4|26 pages

The rise and decline of nations

The dynamic properties of institutional reform
ByRussell S. Sobel

chapter 5|28 pages

The persistence of historical influences on current economic freedom

ByStephan F. Gohmann

chapter 6|14 pages

Institutional convergence

Exit or voice?
ByJoshua C. Hall

chapter 7|23 pages

Crises and government

Some empirical evidence
ByJamie Bologna Pavlik, Andrew T. Young

chapter 8|16 pages

Does immigration impact institutions?

ByJ. R. Clark, Robert Lawson, Alex Nowrasteh, Benjamin Powell, Ryan Murphy

chapter 9|27 pages

The genesis and evolution of China’s economic liberalization

ByJames A. Dorn

part III|50 pages

Keynote addresses

chapter 10|8 pages

Freedom versus coercion in economic development

ByWilliam Easterly

chapter 11|14 pages

The case for free trade since David Ricardo

ByDouglas A. Irwin

chapter 12|26 pages

Manifesto for a new American liberalism

Or, how to be a humane libertarian
ByDeirdre Nansen McCloskey