(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Israel ranked 81st out of 141 countries in a study measuring economic freedom released by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) on Monday.
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The countries with the highest level of economic freedom according to the report were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Chile and the United States.
For the first time in 25 years, the level of global economic freedom
decreased , mostly due to government policies aimed
at easing the financial crisis, according to the report.
The Jewish State ranked 78th in the Economic Freedom of the World: Annual report last year.
Economic freedom is measured in five different areas: size of
government, legal structure and protection of property rights, access to
sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of
credit, labor and business.
The area in which Israel is least free, for which it received a score of
5 out of 10, is the size of government. Israel received its best scores
for access to sound money and freedom to trade internationally. High
import taxes for cars and other goods, and the small size of the trade
sector prevented it from getting an even higher score.
Israel's security problems damaged its economic freedom not only because
of the large defense budget. Israel received a score of 0 for its
policy of conscription (an all-volunteer military would have moved
Israel up 5 places in the ranking), and a score of 4.2 for military
intervention in rule of law and the political process.
"Israel has made much progress since the report was first published in
1980," said Corinne Sauer, Executive Director of JIMS, "but in the past
decade, in spite of some positive reforms, other countries are
progressing faster toward promoting economic freedom. In order to deal
with the challenges we will face in the coming decade, Israel must
continue to develop its economic prowess. There is no better way to
achieve this than to advance additional reforms which promote economic