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Author Topic: State freedom rankings  (Read 54682 times)

JasonPSorens

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State freedom rankings
« on: July 25, 2007, 12:13:21 pm »

All right, I need to stress that these are preliminary. I'm working on this project with another political scientist, but we won't have any final numbers for some time. These are based on an initial vector of variable weightings that I devised without seeing the results first. I also had to rescale the variables to make them comparable for weighting, which I did by essentially setting the mean to zero for all variables and then scoring each state according to the number of standard deviations from the mean in a pro-freedom direction its policy situation lies. When I applied the vector, these are the results I got. Over 170 different policies are included, everything from taxes and spending, to regulations on gambling, drugs, driving, & smoking, to incarceration rates & police per capita, to economic regulations like health care mandates and occupational licensing. It's vaster in scope than anything we did prior to the FSP state vote.

State Freedom Ranking

1. Colorado
2. New Hampshire
3. Virginia
4. Texas
5. Missouri
6. South Dakota
7. Tennessee
8. Indiana
9. Georgia
10. Nevada
11. Arizona
12. Idaho
13. Kansas
14. Iowa
15. Delaware
16. Michigan
17. North Dakota
18. North Carolina
19. Oklahoma
20. Utah
21. Florida
22. Pennsylvania
23. Alabama
24. Nebraska
25. Arkansas
26. Montana
27. Oregon
28. Minnesota
29. South Carolina
30. Kentucky
31. Illinois
32. Wisconsin
33. Ohio
34. Massachusetts
35. Connecticut
36. Mississippi
37. Louisiana
38. Washington
39. Alaska
40. West Virginia
41. Wyoming
42. Maryland
43. Vermont
44. New Mexico
45. New Jersey
46. Maine
47. California
48. Hawaii
49. Rhode Island
50. New York

Looks as if we were right to eliminate Hawaii and Rhode Island from the start! ;) (And we made the right choice in the state vote too...)
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

GhengisConrad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 05:23:47 pm »

I wonder by what kind of margin Colorado beat NH?
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Denis Goddard

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 07:18:33 pm »

JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 10:06:28 pm »

I wonder by what kind of margin Colorado beat NH?

A pretty small one. In fact, CO, NH, and VA are all fairly close together. If you change the weightings slightly, those rankings change, and sometimes TX even creeps in. A lot of this is more art than science, but it's just kind of fun to do. :)
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

GhengisConrad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2007, 12:56:43 am »

I also wonder what your prejudice to find NH as the freest state led to this conclusion, because you do already have alot of previous knowledge of howabout NH is free, and may have weighted the measurement in favor, possibly even unconciously :P

but its pretty cool ;D I live in fargo ND but go to school in MN, because their sister cities right next to each other (Fargo-Moorhead). I can feel the difference in freedom from ND to MN about what you have ranked there so its close enough eh?
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"I will not help you to pretend I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve the appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognized. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you to pretend that you are administering justice."- Hank Rearden page 443

JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2007, 08:10:11 am »

I also wonder what your prejudice to find NH as the freest state led to this conclusion, because you do already have alot of previous knowledge of howabout NH is free, and may have weighted the measurement in favor, possibly even unconciously :P

I guess that's possible. My approach was to start with three broad categories: fiscal policy, economic regulation and property rights, and criminal law and personal freedoms. I weighted those three categories equally, and then weighted policies within those categories according to how important I thought they were. My coauthor still has to give his opinion on the weightings, so the whole scheme might change between now & publication - probably not drastically, however.

Quote
but its pretty cool ;D I live in fargo ND but go to school in MN, because their sister cities right next to each other (Fargo-Moorhead). I can feel the difference in freedom from ND to MN about what you have ranked there so its close enough eh?

Yes, I think the overall rankings are pretty intuitive and make sense. Living in NY, I can see that this is definitely the least free state I've ever lived in. I'm not terribly surprised that Texas, where I grew up, scores high, because it is very economically free. However, its criminal justice policies leave something to be desired. One thing I am surprised about is that N. Carolina is ranked higher than S. Carolina. We had a hard time with taxes in NC. Worse than Connecticut even, though not as bad as NY. There must be other areas where NC is better than SC.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

lasse

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2007, 09:51:58 am »

Wow, what did Wyoming do wrong? AFAIK they have basically no taxes and little gun control, which is what _I_ would consider most important - what gives?
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lloydbob1

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2007, 10:49:34 am »

You're the researcher,  but, wouldn't it be easier to break down the categories; Personal Freedom, Business Freedom, etc.?  To do what you are doing seems to you put you in the position of having to compare apples and oranges and come up with some kind of average.


State A  has total economic freedom. No Taxes. User fees. When you're driving down the road conducting your business both bureaucrats jump out of your way, so as not to get in your way

Divided by:

State A requires you to 'bind' the right foot of every other one of your children.


=?
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JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2007, 05:32:48 pm »

You're the researcher,  but, wouldn't it be easier to break down the categories; Personal Freedom, Business Freedom, etc.?  To do what you are doing seems to you put you in the position of having to compare apples and oranges and come up with some kind of average.


State A  has total economic freedom. No Taxes. User fees. When you're driving down the road conducting your business both bureaucrats jump out of your way, so as not to get in your way

Divided by:

State A requires you to 'bind' the right foot of every other one of your children.


=?

You mean just leave the rankings for the separate categories as they are and not have an overall freedom index? I suppose the end user could do whatever he wants with the data, actually. We'll have all the components, subcomponents, and individual variables made available for people who want to weight things themselves.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 05:46:38 pm »

Wow, what did Wyoming do wrong? AFAIK they have basically no taxes and little gun control, which is what _I_ would consider most important - what gives?

Wyoming is good on gun control, but they actually have fairly high taxes, just not on individuals. Almost one quarter of all state revenue comes from mining taxes. If you exclude mining taxes, then Wyoming looks almost as good as NH on taxes. However, it's still subpar on government spending. Even if you exclude transportation and public safety spending, Wyoming spends more than N.H., as a percentage of their economies, on "other," administration, natural resources and environment, social services and welfare, and education (in fact, every single category that the Census Bureau tracks). Part of the reason Wyoming spends more is that they benefit more from federal grants. I plan to adjust for that and re-run the analysis. However, I've already adjusted government employment for federal grants, and Wyoming is still worse than average in terms of state and local government employment as a percentage of private employment. I guess with all the publicly owned land and natural resources, Wyoming's government just has a big fiscal impact.

In terms of educational regulation and smoking bans, WY is better than NH, and it's about equal with NH on marijuana laws, & is a little better on labor law and health insurance regulation, but has done nothing about eminent domain reform and has a very conservative crime policy, including high incarceration rates, high police per capita, and high arrest rates for victimless crimes.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Russell Kanning

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2007, 06:49:14 pm »

that is pretty funny ..... Colorado is 40 places better than Wyoming :o
I can't imagine too many people living in those states would rank them that way.


I can't comment on this on the nhfree forum .... because it is in the politics section. I am locked out. :)

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JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2007, 07:15:38 pm »

that is pretty funny ..... Colorado is 40 places better than Wyoming :o
I can't imagine too many people living in those states would rank them that way.

Well, probably most people in Wyoming aren't directly affected by the high mining taxes, and most of them probably don't complain about the government largesse they fund. As far as the average individual "feeling free," I'm sure Wyoming is much better than it looks on this ranking.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

GhengisConrad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2007, 07:30:58 pm »

My approach was to start with three broad categories: fiscal policy, economic regulation and property rights, and criminal law and personal freedoms. I weighted those three categories equally, and then weighted policies within those categories according to how important I thought they were.

well theres your problem! There are five categories, but you only started and then weighted equally 3 of them! :P
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"I will not help you to pretend I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve the appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognized. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you to pretend that you are administering justice."- Hank Rearden page 443

RidleyReport

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2007, 10:17:56 pm »

i find it hard to believe mass. is freer than wyoming
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mattbarney

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2007, 11:09:31 pm »

A lot of this is more art than science, but it's just kind of fun to do. :)

Jason,

I wonder if you've considered, what I would consider the most sophisticated & modern approach to measurement in social science - Rasch (Item Response Theory) - it has rigorous theoretical base for creating linear measures; and if you can create an absolute zero, make meaningful ratios (e.g. zero personal freedom).

More here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasch_model
http://www.winsteps.com/
http://www.rasch.org/
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