US state-level economic freedom during the COVID-19 pandemic
Originally published in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology
The COVID-19 pandemic led to extensive new government regulations and lockdown policies that significantly reduced economic freedom across US states. Many of these new pandemic-related regulatory restrictions on economic freedom varied significantly from state to state but are largely missed by the existing Economic Freedom of North America Report (EFNA). This paper adjusts the Our World in Data COVID-19 Stringency Index into a state-level measure of lockdown regulatory freedom and then merges it into the EFNA index to better measure relative economic freedom across US states in 2020. We find significant differences in the relative ranking of economic freedom between states once we adjust for lockdown regulatory restrictions.