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The index of economic freedom: methodological matters

Issaka Dialga (Department of Economics, Laboratory of Economics and Management of Nantes-Atlantique, University of Nantes, Nantes, France)
Thomas Vallée (Department of Economics, Laboratory of Economics and Management of Nantes-Atlantique, University of Nantes, Nantes, France)

Studies in Economics and Finance

ISSN: 1086-7376

Article publication date: 26 July 2021

Issue publication date: 27 July 2021

265

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to deal with methodological issues in the Index of Economic Freedom (IEF) building by using principal components analysis (PCA) and benefit of the doubt (BOD) methods to generate component- and country-specific weights in computing the scores.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses endogenous model and country-specific weight system to generate country-specific score unlike the equal weight used by the Heritage Foundation.

Findings

The PCA and BOD analyses provide consistent results that differ dramatically with the baseline ones (results using equal weights).

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of the paper is that the results change depending on the method used.

Practical implications

Given results provided by the PCA and BOD analysis, the IEF would receive broad legitimacy basing the calculation of its scores on endogenous weighting models.

Social implications

As composite indicators are essential in public debates and policies, their construction must be objective and well-known by a large public, making the methodological matters in composite indexes building one of the big challenge to researchers and a major democratic issue.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper is to use endogenous approach to generate weights and countries’ scores.

Keywords

Citation

Dialga, I. and Vallée, T. (2021), "The index of economic freedom: methodological matters", Studies in Economics and Finance, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 529-561. https://doi.org/10.1108/SEF-07-2015-0181

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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