WASHINGTON - Estonia was ranked number eight in an annual report on economic freedom released by the Washington-based Cato Institute, a think tank, the first post-communist economy to make it to the top 10, according to reports.
Report author James Gwartney, an economics professor at Florida State University, said it was Estonia's extraordinary progress that vaulted it into the top 10.
"It's a country that has seen amazing progress in economic freedom in a relatively short period of time. In 1995, in the index for that particular year, Estonia was something like 70th or 71st. And now it has moved all the way up to eighth," Gwartney said.
In the rankings, the institute used several indicators to rank 141 global economies. As in previous annual surveys, economic freedom is highest in Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States and Britain.
The least economically free country is Zimbabwe, which just edged out Burma.
The survey employs several indicators to measure economic freedom, including five broad categories: size of government, rule of law, access to sound money, openness to trade and regulation of business and labor.
Gwartney and the Cato Institute say economic freedom globally has been improving over the past decade.