June 8, 2011

Freedom in Oregon

  • William Ruger

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Texas State University - San Marcos
  • Jason Sorens

    Senior Affiliated Scholar
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We created Freedom in the Fifty States to develop an index of economic and personal freedom in the American states. Specifically, we examine state and local government intervention across a wide range of public policies, from income taxation to gun control, from homeschooling regulation to drug policy. The full index, complete with data and methodology notes, is available at https://www.mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011.

This issue of Mercatus on Policy focuses specifically on Oregon and how it compares to other states in its fiscal, regulatory, economic, and personal freedom. Oregon shows the greatest improvement by any state over the previous version of this index, leaping up 14 places to become the 8th most free state in the country overall and the freest state in the Pacific Northwest. This gain is due mostly to a big improvement in the quality of the state’s court system, a substantial decline in tax collections (from 9.7 to 8.8 percent of personal income), and the enactment of same-sex civil unions. Policy makers from other states seeking to make their states more free would do well to learn from Oregon’s example.