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Economic Freedom and Economic Performance in Latin America: A Panel Data Analysis


  • Author names appear in alphabetical order. The authors would like to thank three anonymous referees for comments that greatly improved the paper.

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This paper performs panel regressions of output per worker, capital intensity, human capital, and total factor productivity in Latin America on measures of economic freedom in five policy areas. Results show that a smaller government raises output per worker in Latin America but not in the OECD. Stronger property rights and a tighter monetary policy also raise output per worker, but greater freedom to trade internationally does not, despite doing so in the OECD. Deregulation lowers output per worker in both Latin America and the OECD. Finally, a tighter monetary policy raises total factor productivity (TFP) but reduces capital intensity in Latin America, while deregulation raises capital intensity but lowers TFP in both sets of countries.