A survey released by the U.S. Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal on Friday titled 2013 Index of Economic Freedom has placed Australia on the third spot, with Hong Kong still on the lead for the 19th straight year.
Despite falling by 0.5 points lower than in 2012, Australia still managed to be included in the top ten list of countries, which apart from Hong Kong include Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Denmark and the United States.
"Australia's strong commitment to economic freedom has resulted in a policy framework that encourages impressive economic resilience," the index said.
Australia's best rankings came out in financial freedom (first), property rights (second) and freedom from corruption (eighth). Its worst rankings were fiscal freedom (148th), government spending (102nd) and trade (38th).
The editors of the index, however, said the global average, which hit the highest point in 2008, has been weakening. "The global advance toward economic freedom has ground to a halt," the index editors said.
"Almost all of the most advanced countries lost ground this year," Terry Miller, a director at the Heritage Foundation, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
"Even top-ranked Hong Kong saw its score decline due to increased government spending and higher inflation. The United States, ranked only 10th most free in the world this year, joins Ireland as the only advanced economies to have lost economic freedom five years in a row."
The index defines economic freedom as individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.
The Most Free Economies 2013
1. Hong Kong
4. New Zealand
10. United States
The Least Free Economies 2013
170. Equatorial Guinea
172. Myanmar (Burma)
177. North Korea