Economic Freedom and Economic Growth: Does Specification Make a Difference?

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C. Doucouliagos and M.Ulubasoglu, European Journal of Political EconomyMarch 2006, vol. 22, n.1, pp. 60-81.

In this paper we apply meta-analytic techniques to the literature on the impact of economic freedom on economic growth and find an overall positive direct association between economic freedom and economic growth. A positive indirect effect of economic freedom on economic growth through the stimulation of physical capital is also identified. However, the literature is affected by specification bias with respect to controls for physical capital. The omission of physical capital results in larger estimates of the economic freedom–economic growth association. Further, the use of panel data leads to smaller estimates of the impact of economic freedom on economic growth. The meta-analysis is confirmed by primary cross-sectional and panel data analysis of 82 countries for the period 1970–1999.

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