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tv   Cato Institute Hosts Discussion on Freedom in the 50 States Report  CSPAN  August 20, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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states and localities to follow certain guidance. is now that more information public, congress and the department of justice have a responsibility to put in place better standards. neema singh giulani is from the is a and mike doucette commonwealth attorney from the state of virginia. thank you for being with us. >> c-span, created by the table television companies -- cable television companies and brought to you by your service provider. three years after a supreme court ruling overturned part of the voting rights act, a number of state laws have struck down.
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our issues spotlight looks at voting rights and the impact on the 2016 election. we will feature part of the 2013 supreme court oral argument. members of congress look at whether to restore the voting rights act. here is what the presidential candidates have to say. now a lot of places will not have voter identification. you just keep walking in and voting? >> what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of of property -- or young people. >> a new report by the cato
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institute looks at crime reduction, fiscal policy, and taxes to determine state freedom rankings. this is about one hour.
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>> good afternoon. me to thisook to capitol hill briefing entitled freedom in the 50 states. peter russo.
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i want to thank you for showing up here today. i appreciate it. for those of you on twitter who like to get involved we're about #. the cato events we would love to hear from you. today marks the publication date of freedom in the 50 states, an index of personal and economic freedom. this is the fourth edition and it has new and improved data and features. there seems to be a lot of indices, but a few have provided an overview of freedom in all its possible dimensions, namely fiscal policy and how state agencies affect
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atomic activity in its borders and personal freedom. this incorporates all three and conversationngular to those interested in the state of liberty at the state level. temptation to steal thunder here is very powerful, let me kill that right now. here is peter berger, the research fellow in foreign-policy studies. he spent most of his working day as the vice president of research at the charles koch but i foundation -- foundation. his work has been published in international studies quarterly, state politics and policy quarterly, armed forces society and other outlets. a -- jason soren is a lecturer in the government area of dartmouth college. his interest include public policy and federal systems, secession and ethnic politics. he is the author of secession, identity, interest and strategy
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and must just his academic work is published in international studies quarterly, state politics and policy quarterly, and other academic journals. he has received his ba in economics and the loss of feet with honors and his phd in political science from yale university. we'll hear from both gentlemen and then will leave for -- time for questions at the end. you peter, and thank you to the cato institute. we are excited to be with cato and to integrate the launching point for the discussion about what it means to be free and whether the state of public policy is in the states. i would like to thank you for coming out tonight. and is the freedom index the ranking of freedom in the 50 states. we first examine economic freedom and freedoms that affect your personal life and look at three key areas. it looks at fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom or freedom from paternalism and like peter said, this is the fourth edition.
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we would like to call attention to the bigger and better addition. it is to a hundred 87 pages and includes all kinds of needs information for statistics and most analysis. -- do we do this you this? we want to measure and compare the american states on public policies and how this affects freedom in different spheres. freed in -- freedom is an and of itself valuable for its own its that we wants area to examine the status of this important moral in the states. but it also has a dynamic effect . it will investigate questions about the relationship between freedom and outcomes such as economic growth and freedom and things like internal migration. it has a lot of different uses both from the analytical side and the public policy side. we think it is useful for example, to use
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this to know how their states are doing and where they stand relative to other states in the union. they can also use it to identify areas of improvement. our 40 other states that are doing it this way and seeming to have success with this policy. why can't we'll? state -- why can't we all? citizens can use this to hold legislators accountable, and that is an important thing cousin it means that they have the ability to before about the status of freedom in their state and this will help them to do that. reporters can use this together data on how their state compares to other states in the union. citizens can use this if they think about moving their businesses or make decisions about where they are to go relative to that regulatory environment. it affects what they do in many different ways, that is why people can use this. why study states? -- of what i've talked about really to that. i want to make a broader and which is that we should study states because the american federal system still allowed state governments rarely why
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discretion over a range of important policy issues. adolescent is still alive, despite it being a decline basically since the beginning of our country's history, especially since the new deal. shouldwould say that we study states because federalism and allow states to innovate and a lot of the action is actually happening in politics at the state level. a lot of prominent examples of this. ,hile we have a lot of gridlock and a lot of polarization, lots of things are getting done at the state level. think about criminal justice and policing reform. an important issue that is transpiring today. you have states like new mexico, nebraska, new hampshire that have passed civil asset forfeiture reform. think about issues on the physical side, where many states have tried to get a handle on the most recent recession, and how to innovate to deal with some of the fiscal problems that have resulted. , you'veuana policies seen colorado, washington, and alaska changed their marijuana regimes. education policy, were nevada has experimented with regulatory forms, and right work laws
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passed in wisconsin, indiana, and michigan. you have seen a lot of policy innovation at the state level, so it is important to see what is going on in to do this kind of analysis. another recent study states that the governments have to can be with each other for citizens and taxpayers. this is an important part of migration, like apple pie and chevrolet. we are a country of people who have moved and we continue to do so with pretty robust internal migration. i should also mention one thing in relationship to why we study states. they are laboratories of democracy. they can experiment with different policies and see how it works without having a one approach that if it goes badly is bad for everybody. in a state experiment giving you can see how it goes and other states can copy it, or choose not to have the policy goes bad.
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let me talk a little bit about -- we can fine -- how we did define conceptualism and freedom. freedom is a moral concept and redefine it in the american way that is consistent with a long liberal tradition in the west and individuals allowed to dispose of their life's liberty and property as they see fit consistent with the equal rights of others to do so. that is the law of equal freedom. freedom includes being unconstrained from unjust private and public interference, that is important but we only badger the latter. policies,sed on state not looking at the big safety regimes of the different states that might take you from personal violence. we are looking at how states engage in the use of its powers. another key caveat here is that we include -- exclude abortion people from our analysis, from the main analysis
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. the reason that we do that is that there are reasonable freedom argument on the different issues. we have our own strong opinions, but there are different freedom arguments. we provided on these as well as alternative indices because based on these different regimes for the different type of policies, you will see an appendix for that. something aside from freedom of morality. there is a critical caveat about the laws of equal freedom that is at the heart of the study, and that is our approach does not employ normative neutrality. said we believe we just just because we believe that these types of policies should not impinge on people's freedom to do all kinds of different things, that does not mean that the exercise of those rights, the ability to do something, is that one ought to do those things that is either wise or virtuous or healthy to exercise those freedoms. however consistent with our moral concept that is the heart of the study, we believe that people ought to be able to do those things. call for chu in a
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piece that we wrote is a real option to both political conservatism and ethical libertarianism. let's get to the data. we measure freedom, given that this is the fourth edition, and we have done some back coating of a have measure freedom for the year 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. a real nice series of data to look at in terms of freedom over the last 14 years in terms of the study itself. we have 230 variables. it is quite comprehensive. that is important to measure the whole range of different freedoms but also if you have a concern about us including one thing or weighting one thing more than another, the overall
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rankings are quite robust even for small policy changes for you we measure everything from state and local tax burdens to occupational licensing to even things like raw milk sales. these are one third of the index. let me talk about how we have weighted these policies. this is not simply our view about what matters to people and what ought to matter to them. we have tried to have an objective a system of weighting as possible.
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individual policies are weighted by their freedom concerned by those who enjoy it and we do those in dollar terms. this is not a utilitarian weighting scheme. we are not looking at the cost in the benefits of any particular policy and terms of how it affects the utility to that person. we do not measure the advantage of the coercive regime. that is very consistent with the liberal tradition that we are basing this on. we basically take for each variable, we give it a dollar estimate representing the financial, psychological, and welfare benefits of a standardized shift to a variable in a pro-freedom direction to those who enjoy more freedom and we do this based on existing economic and policy research. some policies do get a bump due to wider, unmeasured costs to insecure rights if these policies -- in the cases of where these policies touch on those things. if a policy is in coated in the state constitution or u.s. constitution or we have been recognized i some state courts and relate to a fundamental
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right, we have given it a bump in terms of the weighting. so, what is new for this edition? we have updated the rankings and data for 2012 in 2014. that is important when we are trying to do that kind of looking at these policies overtime. we also have improved our estimates of the freedom value of each policy that go into the weighting i talked about. we have expanding -- expanded and improved measures, we are trying to get better at measuring underlying categories and dimensions. we give particular count to citizen choice among local governments. we have added an index of cronyism and an analysis of the relationship between cronyism and things like corruption and lobbying and jason will talk more about that when he comes up here. we have new analysis of the relationships between things like freedom and partisan lien, economic growth and migration. there is a lot in that 287 pages.
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we have also updated the state profiles for each of the 50 states and included policy recommendations for all of them. we have provided those alternative indexes that i talked about. let's get to the rankings, the sexy stuff that people act here. let's turn to fiscal policy and you see that in fiscal policy we are dealing with things like state and local taxation, government subsidies and government debt. you see here that new york brings up the rear and 50th place. not surprising but something worth noting. at the top four states like new hampshire, tennessee, south dakota, florida and oklahoma. let's move to regulatory policy, the other half of economic policy, economic freedom. here we have things like land use which are substantial, things like health insurance in
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terms of the pre-ppaca, market regulation, and so forth. new york comes in last. new york is an interesting case we can go into more where it does so poorly even compared to the 49th worst and 58th worst states. at the top for we see idaho, indiana, wyoming, kansas, and iowa. when you add fiscal policies and regulatory policies together, we get economic freedom as a whole. there are other studies that measure economic freedom out there but we think we do a pretty decent job at combining regulatory fiscal as we see it and giving an overarching economic freedom index itself. that could be utilized even if you're not interested in those other aspects we measure here. in terms of economic freedom we see at the bottom we have new york, california, hawaii, new jersey, and maryland at the top. new hampshire comes in fifth followed by oklahoma, tennessee,
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idaho and the top state in terms of economic freedom is south dakota. next we will talk about personal freedom. here you have a range of policies that before the freedom index were not measured in any of these indices of freedom. we think that is a big value add for looking at this wider understanding of what it means to live in a free society. here we have basically some criminal justice policies at the top, incarceration and arrest, marriage freedom, educational freedom, gun rights, alcohol freedom and so forth. at the bottom of this list, new york escapes being 50th. we have kentucky falling there. in terms of the best, we have washington, maine, nevada, colorado, and new mexico as the top state in terms of personal freedom. let's move to overall freedom. harkening back to milton
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freedom. it is not easy to divide out the categories in terms of how we want to live. we have to measure the whole range. what does it look like? so if you click on this, maryland is 46. new jersey is 47th. hawaii is 48. california is 49th and you may not the surprised what i said before that new york comes in dead last. it is funny that it comes up so often but not for the residents of new york who are suffering greatly from this type of policy regime which is one of the things why so many new yorkers have been moving since 2000. we have seen double-digit movement in terms of the percentage of the 2000 population that have left the state. in terms of the top states, south dakota which was ranked quite highly in terms of economic freedom is in fifth
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place on overall freedom because they do not do as well on personal freedom. followed by indiana which does pretty well on both. oklahoma, alaska, and then, drum please, new hampshire, the freest state in the union as of the fourth edition of their freedom in the 50 states index. so now i will turn to adjacent to talk about some of our analysis of these different relationships that i talked about earlier so thank you. mr. sorens: thanks. my job today is to talk a little bit about the social science we do with these freedom scores. first taking a look at how freedom has changed over time for some of our top and bottom states, you see here that act in -- back in 2000, tennessee was the number one state. but relative to other states it has not done so well.
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now it has fallen a little act -- back ahead of the pace. new hampshire was number two back in 2000, number one in 2006 and eight years later, re-takes first place. alaska did very well in 2000 and declined a lot by 2006 and since then has increased tremendously. with alaska i have to caution you our measures of state taxation are skewed to the fact that they correlate with oil prices. a lot of this improvement is measured improvement but there were not any policy changes, the state was collecting fewer corporate taxes because oil was so low. the problem with alaska. oklahoma is our most improved state of all 50 states since 2000 and you can see that in this graph.
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it has increased consistently over time, increased across all three dimensions, even in areas like criminal justice, oklahoma has been a leader and starting to reform policies that were punative previously. here at bottom you see new york, our number 50 state, there is a little bit of a hint of improvement since 2010 in fiscal policy, especially. but overall, it stayed well behind even a number 49 state, california. you see here that there has not been a tremendous amount of change over time. hawaii has had one of the biggest declines in the last four years. one of our worst states in terms of change in the last four years. part of that due to the fact that in 2010, hawaii had the most free market health insurance regime in the country. ppaca has taken that away and they have had a series of tax
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increases under the governor there. we see that the state average overall has trended down since 2000. some of this is due to the effective federal policies. if we remove the effect of the nationalization of health insurance regulation, state average overall freedom would look more like this. it has increased since 2006 especially on fiscal policies. that has been fairly steady's and great recession. one of the new features of this edition is what we call freedom from cronyism index. we looked at restrictions on business entry, pricing, and subsidies to business. those are the elements of our cronyism index. it includes our entire occupational licensing index,
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includes restrictions on starting a new moving company, hospital certificate of need requirements for construction, price gouging laws, minimum markup laws, subsidies to business, those are the main elements of this index. you see here that wyoming, idaho, kansas, colorado, and a and minnesota are the least and maryland, massachusetts, and illinois are the most. with a lot of these economic freedom indices it seems that some deep blue states tend toward the bottom and the ones tend to be redder states. cronyism relates to corruption and the number of lobbyists per legislator. here is a scatter plot showing the relationship between on the x axis the log lobbyist to legislator ratio and on the y
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axis, freedom from cronyism, it is a strong negative relationship. the values are -.46 and it is statistically significant. states with more lobbyists per legislator tend to have more cronyist regulations. it could be that more lobbyists cause legislators to enact policies that benefit these sheltered industries or could just be that more cronyist policies elicit more lobbying because they are trying to retain those privileges. we found a similar relationship between the index of cronyism and state corruption perceptions from a survey of state house journalists. a correlation of about .5 showing that more cronyist states are more corrupt. if you look at public ideology and economic freedom, i have got democratic and green in 1996, this is the pvi of the state
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against economic freedom in 2000. we want the partisanship to be measured. maybe it is feeding into policy causally and we do see a negative relationship although a curvilinear one. moderate states are no less economicly freeze in strongly conservative states. but if the deep blue states, the very democratic states that tend to have lower economic freedom and we find a similar relationship when we look at economic freedom 14 years later. partisanship in 2012 has the same curvilinear relationship with economic freedom today. we look at how freedom affects certain outcomes. do americans value freedom? one way to test this is to see whether they vote with their feet for freedom and we do find some evidence of this. we look at statistically we
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regress the net migration rate for each state in different times on the starting level of fiscal and regulatory personal freedom and we control for climate, amenities, measured a number of different ways, cost of living, capital per worker, no matter how we tried to control for other things that might attract people to a state we find that freedom is statistically significantly associated with net and migration. people move from less free to freer states and that holds across these three dimensions although especially strong for fiscal policy and personal freedom. here is a couple of scatter plots showing the relationship between overall freedom on the left in 2000. and the net migration rate over the subsequent six years.
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what we find is that again, for -- freer states have more net domestic migration. the least free state has the worst migration. 11.2% of the 2000 population of new york has on net moved to other states. we find a similar relationship even stronger actually a little bit after the great recession states that have more freedom again, have had greater net migration in the seven subsequent years to 2006. we look at economic growth. do we find that fiscal and with subsequent economic growth? a little adam smith quote. peace, easy taxes, and a
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tolerable administration of justice, all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things. does that hold true? easy taxes, peace, and a tolerable administration of justice. we find that economic freedom is positively associated with personal income growth and we just personal income growth for a change in state cost-of-living so this is a real income growth. which is important because some states that have the high per capita incomes are not actually as wealthy as you think because the cost of living is extremely high/. we separate into post and pre-great recession samples. this result is strong for
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regulatory policy. this makes sense theoretically. you would expect that with migration, the evidence seems consistent. when it comes to businesses, what they care about is probably labor law, the civil liability system, what we call regulatory policy and that is what seems to affect the productivity of business. that seems to affect economic growth. we also do some alternative indices and what is interesting is how robust a lot of rankings are even if you had different abortion regimes in or take out the right to work from the index. we include a no right to work index and right to work is part of the main index but some would argue against them. we have abortion laws and a pro-life index, a moderate pro-choice and a strong pro-choice index in all different possible combinations. if you exclude right to work, new hampshire is by far number one.
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if you have pro-life with right to work, oklahoma is number one. all of these, new york is number 50 no matter what you do. moderate pro-choice are strong pro-choice depending on which of those you choose, new hampshire and alaska might trade off number one and number two. you could quibble with some of our weights on the variables. in fact, if you like you can download our spreadsheet and create your own personalized index, we encourage that. part of this is about generating a conversation about freedom. you will probably find that the states move around a little bit, it will be difficult to get new york higher than 25 or new hampshire lower than 25. with that we would like to offer a little bit of time for q&a. i believe peter has some
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questions for us as well. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we will have copies of this book on the way out. it is a data lover's delight. it is full of charts and graphs and wonderful ways to look at material. another way to engage at the website which is check that out. it is fun. there are a lot of ways to play with the data. let's move to the questions. anyone have a question off the bat and if you do not, i have one. other than voter ideology, what caused the states to be more free or less free. is there anything other than what the votes are saying? >> we do look at state political institutions to see if they take a difference.
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they do make a small difference, not as much as ideology. we looked at a number of different legal regimes and institutions to see what might influence freedom and we look at legislative professionalism. our legislators paid a lot, that is not related to freedom. we look at links of the constitution, some states have really long ones and some have short ones, that is not related to freedom. some of the things that do seem to be related to freedom, we do find that the legislator to lobbyist ratio matters. the direction of the causality is unclear. we also find that state age matters. the older states tend to have less freedom particularly in the economic sphere. there was an economist who had a hypothesis about this in a 1981
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book. he thought that older states would have more interest groups and that is why they would be less free. we find it seems to be related to unionization. the older states had strong labor movements and even today have higher unionization rates, even adjusting for whether you have a right to work law and as a result of that more labor regulation and things like that. there is not a tremendous amount that states can do to their institutions to ensure more freedom but possibly increasing the size of your legislature, that would reduce the size of that lobbyist to legislator ratio and maybe that would increase freedom. >> i have a question about new york. one of the theories about movement of people has to do
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with the difference between fixed and mobile capital. the idea is if you have a lot of fixed capital then you have problems because it is hard for people to leave and the government will have a lot of discretion what to do. capital goes to switzerland and you have to be careful about that. what strikes me is that manhattan is filled with mobile capital. it is highly mobile. the most mobile capital in the world. so nonetheless we observe that not only is new york the worst state but it is falling away from the rest of the country. that does not seem to fit with the idea that mobile capital -- make loopholes for mobile capital, does it not matter? am i wrong about my assumption? >> the mobile capital you are thinking of, finance. the shares are owned by people living elsewhere mostly and those companies operate elsewhere.
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they are trading in new york. wall street i think is pretty fixed. it would be hard to move the stock exchanges outside new york city. so there is this pool of wealth there that is going to stick around. california enjoys the same sort of situation where they have got two thirds of the pacific coast facing asia. advantages for international trade, best climate on earth and yet people are moving -- more people move away from california than move to it. >> this gets to the interesting regional comparisons you can make. go to the heart of the midwest, places like illinois and indiana and you compare what is going on there in terms of outmigration and in migration. indiana's population since 2000 has stayed the same. slightly negative. less than 1%. illinois, despite having lots of
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advantages over indiana in terms of having a great city like chicago, some of the best universities, that has suffered quite greatly in terms of outmigration compared to indiana. essentially almost 8% of illinois citizens in 2000 have fled the state compared to where indiana is with less advantages. you see the same thing between massachusetts and new hampshire. massachusetts has lost about 5% of its 2000 population while new hampshire has gained 2.2%. some of that is because you have tax refugees moving to a better tax climate. in other words, from less freedom to more freedom from massachusetts to new hampshire but also other parts of the region. you also see this on the west coast. it is robust across the different parts of the country. places like arizona and nevada. those are places where lots of retirees are coming because of the better climate, cost of
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living. we control for those things and we are still seeing that relationship between freedom and migration. in terms of the percentages, california has lost 4.9% of its 2000 population despite being paradise in terms of its clement -- climate and amenities. it is hard to beat southern california. also hard to beat the cool things that are happening in northern california and yet people are having to leave that state where is places like arizona, hot as heck, right ? some people like it. i do not. your basically 16% increased in terms of in migration. nevada, almost 20%. it is pretty amazing what is going on in terms of this migration that i talked about being as american as apple pie. people are leaving. we want to caveat is by saying most people are moving from other reasons but on the margins, freedom matters and it letters in a statistically
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significant fashion. see any differences from the top states in the bottom states? mr. sorens: there is a real movement at the partisan level for criminal justice reform. given that some of these criminal justice variables are so important in terms of their weighting in personal freedom, you will see changes. you have a lot of variety in terms of state response. some states will jump on this criminal justice bandwagon and other states will not. they will try to stay state tough on crime. other states will adopt being smarter on crime. that is the case for some of the conservative states that are going to follow what is happening at oklahoma and even texas, even though it it does quite poorly in terms of personal freedom has been a locus of reform as groups like
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right on crime try to prove this idea. some conservatives latch on and others say hold off. you have seen an intra-conservative debate on criminal justice that will trickle down into their rankings in terms of the freedom index. mr. sorens: a lot of those reforms take a while to affect the variables. like think our serratia and rate. incarceration rate. you can start incarcerating fewer people now but there are still many thousands in this prisons. there will be a little bit of a lag there. this has been going on for some time. texas should improve given it was at the forefront of some of these reforms. >> who moves the highest and the lowest? you kind of touched on it a little bit. >> oklahoma was the best
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improver over this period. they were in the middle high in 2000 and now they are among the top five. number three. >> how do you account for that? what went into that? more freedom is better? is it a competitive thing? mr. ruger: what you find is states that move ideologically are sometimes out of equilibrium, so to speak. oklahoma was a state that had long been full of new deal democrats that suffered during the great depression. and a lot of cultural affinities with the segregation south. then it became a much more free-market state in terms of public opinion. it took a while for policy to respond to that. the politicians caught on and started implementing the kinds of reforms that voters wanted.
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you might see similar things happening with a state like west virginia, which was strongly democratic until just a few years ago and is strongly republican and all of a sudden it is passing workers comp reform and right to work and all these things so maybe west virginia which is one of our worst states is going to start to improve. mr. ruger: illinois is the state that has worsened the most in terms of the rankings since 2000, not just in terms of rankings, in terms of freedom. illinois has suffered due to as you might guess pretty bad fiscal policy situation. it is a state that has not got a handle on spending or taxes, and also is a highly regulated state compared to its neighbors. and so that has hurt, affected the fiscal side of the house. when you're having your tax base fully to neighboring states
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it makes some of these albums that were locked in like pension issues even worse because you have a smaller base to start with. mr. sorens: what is interesting about illinois is it used to be one of the very worst states, it might have been number 50 in 2010, as recently as 2010. it has increased on personal freedom but mostly because the federal courts have forced them to. they struck down a lot of their gun laws. they were laggard on same-sex marriage. you would expect that a state that is far left would have moved on that pretty rapidly but they did not. they have improved on personal freedom, maybe not through their own virtue, so to speak. >> thanks. since we are in washington, what factors do you see that washington can have the best positive effect and the worst negative effect, things that you should try to avoid doing and things that congressmen should be trying to do to help at the state level or should they stay out of the way?
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mr. sorens: we should rely on the wisdom of the founders and maintain federalism and so if the federal government increasingly centralizes policy responses to issues that are happening around the country, that is going to be a bad thing for freedom in general. it also does not allow for those laboratories of democracy to try out and innovate on policies in response to new challenges especially because even though we have a wonderful union, there is a lot of similarities across the different 50 states. there are important differences in terms of what is going on especially economically that we should allow for the states to experiment with at the local level. i would say it is mostly about staying out of the way but not staying out of the way in a irresponsible fashion. it is taking advantage of the wisdom of the founders and our federal system. they understood that local and state responses are going to be oftentimes better for the well-being of the citizens in different places and having a
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regime of freedom if you will is the best way for these problems to be dealt with. >> you look at how the u.s. has performed on the economic index of freedom and it has been falling quite a lot over the last 15 years but that is happening at the federal level. the state level if you exclude policies that are nationalized by the federal government, states have been getting better. part of this is congress stepping out of the way and congress people have to look as though they are addressing social problems, at least they could insert easy opt out for states. if you meet these very simple criteria you can have a waiver from this big bill we are pushing through. mr. ruger: i would add one more thing. whenever anyone talks about relying on the wisdom of the founders, the federal government does play a really important role and one that the federal government was not playing appropriately for many decades
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which is that the federal government especially through the court system should be a robust defender of individual rights when states and localities are violating rights. this is not an open-ended space to do whatever they want. that is not what we are arguing and that would not be consistent with i think our liberal regime. >> if you look at international comparisons between countries that are more economically free and those that are not, those with more freedom tend to have better social outcomes whether it is life expectancy or educational attainment or a host of other things. what are some of the other outputs from your look at freedom of the 50 states, you can point to showing that freedom does promote better social outcomes for people. >> that is a great question. we are leaving that up to other researchers and one of the reasons is there is a big
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cautionary warning that we would issue to attempts to look at, let's correlate freedom against life expectancy and things like that or college education or graduation rates or something. the problem is that some of the least free states have because of their regulation made their cost of living very high. they are losing people but the people they are losing are disproportionately working class and low income households. you look at a state like massachusetts, great social outcomes but most households in massachusetts do pretty well. on things like patents per capita and things like that. but why is that? it is because no one can afford to live in massachusetts except the college educated professionals. they're going to have good social outcomes.
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you have to find some way of adjusting for that. and look at the causal impact of living under a state policy regime. that will be much more difficult and tricky but i hope researchers look into it. mr. ruger: it is back to why are so many people fleeing if things are so good? that is a important revealed preference that people have. places like maryland and washington, d.c. and new york and california, there are lots of different amenities so you would imagine these would be attractive yet you see people leaving. that is a real sign. >> i want to hear your cronyism index in particular. the social justice would agree totally with that index so that brings up the question, the
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president famously said to small businessmen, you did not hold -- did not build that because he has the social justice perspective. have you looked at creating some kind of social justice index and maybe that would -- they are getting in the union -- new york kind of states, they are getting more free services and people are happier in the social justice lexicon, they have greater freedom. >> we think we are measuring justice here. we think it is important, a key component to be free to choose the way you want to live your life as long as you're not harming others, by letting their -- violating their rights. we do capture some of the things that a trans partisan audience would appreciate. that is why this is not a conservative or liberal index.
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it is not even a libertarian index to the extent that we are talking about what it means to live freely from various types of policy regimes. that encompasses things that you see across the spectrum that we care about. the crime adjusted incarceration rate, that is an important variable here. we also care about a number of different personal freedoms that you would not necessarily see in any type of conservative index. on the other hand we are saying that you cannot ignore the economic side. back to milton friedman. milton friedman talked about freedom as a whole. there are different components but to live free you have to have the ability across different areas. if you do not have economic freedom it is hard to have freedom of the press. if you have economic freedom but you do not have lots of personal freedoms, can you flourish as a human being the way we would like to across the range of things we care about as humans, to have the kind of well-being that we want. we think freedom is a kind of necessary but insufficient cause of well-being but if you do not have it it is hard to thrive.
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maybe at the top you can which is why we want to look at cronyism because we do not want the creation of a two-tiered society. even for those people can you thrive in all the ways you want to as human beings without freedom. >> i think we have common ground with issues like licensing. and i echo what will said. our index is not just for libertarians. you could take this index and you could say this is how you could think about freedom but some things might be more important than freedom. maybe an egalitarian would say i agree with occupational licensing and incarceration rates but not on taxes. even so even if you say that i , do not think anyone would say taxes are a positive thing in and of themselves. if you took those taxes and dumped them into the sea, that
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would the good. no one says that. they think the taxes are worthwhile because there are compensating advantages. you could add to our index other things like an index of how effective government is and the quality of public services and maybe you would have a fuller picture of how public policy affects well-being or utility or something like that or equality. we do think that our index has to be a piece of the puzzle for just about anybody. >> i noticed in your overall freedom index, in your cronyism index, i noticed the top five states are sparsely populated western states. the bottom five are pretty much all densely populated populace states. is there something to the idea
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of wide open spaces allow for freedom and densely packed people don't want that much freedom? >> we have looked at the relationship between the urbanization rate and percentage of the state population that is urban and different elements of freedom. it relates more to personal freedom than anything else. we find a small relationship that more or less, left-wing have left-wing states have more freedom than right-wing states. we find more rural states have more personal freedom. for economic freedom, there is no relationship. i think what was going on is that the early industrializing states the late 1800s. ,they developed very powerful labor movements, and a concentrated proletarians, if
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you will. they have bent to the left and as a result, they have had these kinds of policies. labor regulation. more of a government, fiscal role. that is why they tend to have less freedom. it is not that the urbanization itself causes problems. if you industrialized an era of mass production and labor radicalism, that is a problem. if you are oklahoma city, if you are sioux falls, if your houston, if you're one of these houston, if you're one of these cities that has recently grown largely based on services, largely nonunionized, those cities are pretty free market. there is nothing inherent about population density that causes people to vote a way freedom, except maybe on personal freedom. issues like guns.
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>> tell us about the origins of that. at the time of the first edition, what was it like out there for this kind of data? what prompted this to get started? it seems like everyone has got one. >> unfortunately we had to do so much with so little in terms of our time. you were talking about over 200 variables that we had to code. some of them rely on and studies and others you have to go to statute. there had not been an index that look at the personal freedom side, which represents about 1/3 of our research. that was new terrain. on the economic side, we measure things differently than others. we weigh the policies different. we have a weighting scheme that is much more objective. it has required a big lift, given there are indices in the past.
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>> there are a lot of indices out there. when we started this, it was the economic freedom of north america. it has a small number of variables but the advantage of their approach is they can get annual data back to 1980 or something. most of the other indices that are out there, they mixed together policy indicators with economic competitiveness indicators. they will have patents per capita and government consumption as a share of gdp. those sorts of things which need to be conceptually distinct. we want to measure state policy. state policy might affect economic competitiveness, but they are not an element of it. that is and remains a distinctive feature of this index. >> that being said, we are happy to have lots of different discussions of freedom. if we do that we will come to a , more robust discussion of freedom.
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republic of science of what it means to be free. >> let's do one more and i think we will close it out. >> do you have any kind of measure for how state-based organizations affect people? >> no. we encourage other people to use the data to explore other issues. we can't answer every question. >> where does the data come from? can they get to the raw stuff? >> it is that one thing -- for the rankings and so forth, >> i will say about faith-based organizations is we see a relationship informally between strength of christian
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organizations in a state and educational freedom. i do find that states that have, for instance, there is a measure in the literature of christian right influence to the state republican party. the stronger that is, the more likely the state is to have school choice and the more liberal their homeschool laws. the more relaxed their form school laws. it is an interesting finding and it kind of makes sense. >> there should be copies of this on the table outside as you exit. you can play with the data, make your own charts. with that, let's thank our speakers. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> next, c-span's issues of spotlight look set legal challenges in several states. garveyhe son of marcus y says why he is asking for a posthumous pardon for his father. >> up next, c-span's issue spotlight. this program focuses on the 2016 election and voting rights. rights areing changing. flex some headlines in


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