Above: Nassau (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamas has the Caribbean’s freest economy, according to the Economic Freedom of the World rankings released by the Fraser Institute.
The report examines a series of criteria, including the size of government, a country’s legal system and property rights, sound money, the freedom to trade internationally and regulation.
The report, which has been published annually since 1996, looks at “the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom.”
The Bahamas leads the Caribbean with a worldwide ranking of 40th. It was helped by a ranking of 12 in the world for size of government, with a ranking of fifth worldwide for regulation (and second for labour market regulations).
The next-highest-ranked Caribbean country is Barbados, which is ranked 73rd, and Trinidad and Tobago, which is ranked 76th.
Jamaica is listed at 79th in the world, while Belize is ranked 88th.
Haiti was ranked 97th, ahead of Egypt, and Guyana was ranked 114th, just ahead of Benin, rounding out the Caribbean nations on the list.
Hong Kong was ranked as the world’s leader in economic freedom, followed by Singapore and New Zealand.
The United States was ranked 18th.
Several smaller Caribbean countries were omitted from the rankings, which were based on data through 2010.