December, 2016

Give Me Liberty and Give Me Control: Economic Freedom, Control Perceptions, and the Paradox of Choice

  • Daniel Bennett

    Research Professor, Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, Baylor University
  • Boris Nikolaev

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Find the full article online at the European Journal of Political Economy.

We explore the relationship between individual control perceptions and the degree to which a country's institutions and policies are consistent with the principles of economic freedom. Using data from the World Values Surveys (WVS) and the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index, we find that people living in more economically free countries are more likely to perceive greater control over their lives. This effect is not diminishing at higher levels of economic freedom. One possible channel that explains this relationship is the perception of procedural fairness and social mobility. Decomposing the EFW index, we further find that the area of sound money is what drives the results.