Human Freedom Index Rankings: Where is Bulgaria
The Human Freedom Index (HFI), compiled by the Cato Institute and the Canadian Fraser Institute, measures the degree of individual and economic freedom. The index is formed on the basis of 82 separate indicators, grouped in 12 categories and rated on a scale from 0 to 10 points. This year's edition uses data for 2019.
The index covers 165 countries, where over 98% of the world's population lives. The average result is 7.12 points, which is the same as the previous year, and compared to the first measurement in 2008, world human freedom even decreased slightly.
The highest score is Switzerland (9.11 points), followed by New Zealand (9.01 points) and Denmark (8.98 points). The top 10 is complemented by Estonia, Ireland, Finland, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Luxembourg. At the bottom are Syria (3.66 points), Venezuela (4.03 points) and Yemen (4.08 points).
Why human freedom is important
The index clearly shows that economic and individual freedom are closely linked.
Higher freedom is also directly proportional to the income per capita - the freest countries have more than four times the gross domestic product per capita compared to the non-free countries. In the freest countries live 15% of the population, and in the least free - 40%.
The study also proves that greater freedom leads to a higher degree of democracy.
Where is Bulgaria
Human freedom in Bulgaria is valued at 8.08 points, ranking the country 45th (out of 165 countries) after Albania and Panama and ahead of Mauritius and Mongolia. Compared to last year's edition (with data from 2018) the country's result decreased by 0.05 points and one place in the ranking, and compared to the first edition (with data from 2008) - by 0.01 points and 3 places.
Over the years, some indicators have slightly improved or deteriorated, but in general human freedom in Bulgaria has not made visible progress in the last decade.
The general presentation of the country this year was formed on the basis of the 12 studied categories of social and economic life:
1) Rule of law (5.2 points) - both in this index and in many other international comparative studies, this is the most problematic category for Bulgaria and the country receives the lowest score. The main problem is the poor efficiency of criminal justice, but civil law and procedural justice also receive low marks.
2) Security and safety (9.6 points) - a strong category for Bulgaria, and the high score comes from the practical absence of terrorist attacks, as well as the relatively low number of murders and kidnappings.
3) Free movement (9.8 points) - Bulgaria gets almost the maximum result due to the free movement of people inside and outside the country.
4) Freedom of religion (8.4 points) - this category takes into account the legal and regulatory restrictions on the practice of different religions, as well as the degree of repression against religious organizations.
5) Freedom of association and civil society (8.7 points) - the opportunities for association and formation of political parties are relatively highly valued.
6) Freedom of speech and information (7.2 points) - the weakness is the freedom and independence of the media in the country.
7) Freedom of relations (9.4 points) - in this category Bulgaria receives a maximum score for the lack of restrictions on same-sex relationships and inheritance rights.
8) Size of the government (7.0 points) - Bulgaria receives low results due to the high costs of the government and the wide application of transfers and subsidies.
9) Judiciary and property rights (5.9 points) - the second weakest category for Bulgaria, due to poor assessments of the independence of the judiciary, the impartiality of the courts and trust in the police.
10) Access to stable money (9.7 points) - the high result comes from the freedom to own foreign currency and the low levels of inflation in the country, guaranteed by the elected regime of the currency board.
11) Freedom of international trade (8.4 points) - low tariffs on trade due to Bulgaria's membership in the European Union increase the country's rating. However, administrative restrictions on trade remain relatively high.
12) Regulation of credit, labor and business (7.9 points) - while the lack of severe regulation of the credit market is highly valued, bureaucratic restrictions continue to stifle business and the labor market.
Bulgaria's position in the index as a whole has not improved for more than a decade and the data once again confirm the problems in the observance of individual and economic freedom, which are the reason for the suppression of income in the country. The main weaknesses and limitations for citizens and businesses remain the functioning of the judiciary, regulations and government spending.
/Institute of Market Economics
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