Economic Freedom of the World

The original and in some ways the central question of economics is: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Beyond being able to merely describe the differences, we want to understand how to make poor countries richer and rich countries better. This curriculum and corresponding activities describe the components of economic freedom and gives examples that can illustrate the concepts to students. Students will explore concepts like the “Rule of Law,” government size, costs and spending, regulatory efficiency, and the role of markets and trade.

What is Economic Freedom?

Throughout the lessons and activities in this unit, students discover what factors influence whether or not a given country is economically free. How easily are individuals able to participate in economic activity? Can they own property, start a business, and make choices about how to save, invest, or spend their dollars? Using the Economic Freedom of the World Index developed by the Fraser Institute, students research countries around the world and make comparisons between countries based on economic freedom measurements. Students then move to analyzing the economic freedom of a single country, the United States, and compare Arkansas data to other states in the south and across the country. The full curriculum includes a mapping activity, historical data analysis, videos, podcasts, and discussion topics to talk about economic freedom in your social studies classrooms.

Standards Connections:

The Economic Freedom in Arkansas curriculum ties to Arkansas learning standards for teaching Economics, World History, Geography, and Civics including:

GE.7.E.2 Explain ways in which current trends in globalization affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of individuals, the environment, technological advancement, and resource and income distribution in different nations

GE.7.E.3 Research the impact of international and national economic and political policies on global trade using a variety of sources from multiple perspectives

WSP.2.G.2 Research the impact of interdependence and accessibility among people, places, and environments

PR.3.G.2 Compare the changes over time on the boundaries and characteristics of regions caused by various factors using geographic representations and data (e.g., climate, technology, migration, conflict, government)

Watch the presentation:

ACRE Policy Analyst Dr. Mavuto Kalulu presents the “Economic Freedom of the World” lesson and activity to a group of Arkansas educators at a Teaching Free Enterprise in Arkansas workshop.

Click here to download Economic Freedom of the World materials