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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Freedom in the 50 States

We have previously discussed comparisons among the states. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has issued a new report, Freedom in the 50 States, by Jason Sorens and William Ruger. From the executive summary:
This study comprehensively ranks the American states on their public policies that affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. It updates, expands, and improves upon our inaugural 2009 Freedom in the 50 States study. For this new edition, we have added more policy variables (such as bans on trans fats and the audio recording of police, Massachusetts’s individual health-insurance mandate, and mandated family leave), improved existing measures (such as those for fiscal policies, workers’ compensation regulations, and asset-forfeiture rules), and developed specific policy prescriptions for each of the 50 states based on our data and a survey of state policy experts. With a consistent time series, we are also able to discover for the first time which states have improved and worsened in regard to freedom recently.
More detail on video:

A report in The Huffington Post:
New York isn't North Korea, but it's the closest thing you'll find in the U.S. -- at least according to a new report from a libertarian think tank.

A Mercatus Center study has pegged New York as the country's "least free" state, 49 slots behind "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire. Its authors gave the state particular abuse for its taxes, "by far the highest" in the country, according to their methodology.

True to their libertarian ways, however, they also said that New York would have scored higher if it had legalized gay marriage.

New York's low ranking in the study hasn't stopped co-author Jason Sorens from living in the state -- he's an assistant professor at SUNY Buffalo. And for the many New Yorkers who might associate freedom with being able to actually enjoy themselves, Sorens acknowledged that there are a few more nightlife options in the Empire State than in, say, South Dakota (#2 in the index).