Economic Freedom of the World: 2005 Annual Report
The index published in Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property. Thirty-eight components and sub-components are used to construct a summary index and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five areas: (1) size of government; (2) legal structure and protection of property rights; (3) access to sound money; (4) international exchange; and (5) regulation.
In chapter 2, Erik Gartzke, a political scientist from Columbia University, shows that economic freedom reduces violent conflict. As well, he compares the impact of economic freedom on peace to that of democracy on peace. Researchers have long known democracies go to war about as often as other nations but tend not to go to war with each other. However, stable democracies typically have strong levels of economic freedom, leading to the question of whether it is democracy or economic freedom that affects the probability of violent conflict.