Ireland – 3rd Most Free Economy
Ireland has high levels of business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption. Government regulation is light. Inflation is low, but Ireland’s monetary score suffers somewhat from distortionary EU agricultural subsidies. Foreign investment is restricted only in a few sectors. Financial markets are transparent and open to foreign competition. Property rights are well protected by an efficient, independent judiciary.
Ireland’s economy is significantly free, with only two categories slightly below the average world score. Fiscal freedom and government size both score 3 percentage points below average. Government spending as a proportion of GDP is just over one-third, and the top individual income tax rate is a high 42 percent.
Ireland is the only European nation awarded the rank of “free”, with an overall score much higher than the European and world averages. The methodology (pdf) ranks each country according to ten categories of economic freedom.