New Zealand again ranks third in the 2013 Economic Freedom report, after having caught first place in a more comprehensive index of human freedom (both personal liberties and economic freedoms) earlier this year. Here’s the Fraser Institute’s latest report. New Zealand’s been third in the Economic Freedom rankings since 2004 and in the top 5 since 1995.
But there are a few different conceptions of freedom.
The Economic Freedom index captures an important one: the freedom to engage in economic transactions without coercion, secure in the knowledge that your property rights will be enforced, that money is sound, and that taxation’s burden doesn’t weigh too heavily. This measure of freedom tends to be a pretty strong predictor of economic well-being. If the regressions that my honours student is working up are right, people mostly value economic freedom instrumentally: they migrate from one country to another based on the differences in income that economic freedom generates rather than because of economic freedom per se. Personal freedoms seem to be driving rather a lot. But I’ll post on that work when we’re a little farther along.
But another important freedom is the freedom to purchase a Cinnabon. And while I am not banned from here buying one, there exists not a single Cinnabon anywhere in Australia or New Zealand. I expect that somebody’s bought the franchise rights and hasn’t bothered doing anything with them. Here’s an alternative freedom ranking, based on the number of Cinnabons in a country. I haven’t weighted by population yet: that is left as an exercise for some future student. Ideally, you’d want a measure of the time cost for the average trip to a Cinnabon. For New Zealand, you’d need to fly to the Phillipines or to Los Angeles. If you lived in Ramallah, in the Palestinian Territory, you might be able to just walk next door.
Here is the Cinnabon Freedom Index (crude). I hope someone improves upon it. We simply here have the number of outlets per country, as listed on their website today. I wonder whether some of the numbers are out of date: their website stopped adding news stories back in December 2012. But here are the numbers.
|Country||Rank||Number of Outlets||Econ Freedom Rank|
|United Arab Emirates||4||36||5|
See New Zealand or Australia on that list? No. We’re last equal at zero. Tied with Antarctica. And Greenland. And Iran.
I wonder whether adding per capita Cinnabon density to any of Chris’s migration regressions would improve fit.
It’s four years ago that Prime Minister John Key appeared on the David Letterman show announcing that New Zealand now had a Cinnabon in the Auckland Airport. It wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. I blame Letterman’s writers. But I’m still disappointed.