Fraser Insight | July 2016
By Alan W. Dowd
freedom is one of the main drivers of prosperity and growth, and the
evidence shows that states with low levels of economic freedom reduce
the ability of their citizens to prosper economically. The Fraser
Institute’s Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA) report measures the impact of economic freedom in relation to the level and
growth of economic activity in all 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states,
and 10 Canadian provinces, by creating an index utilizing 10 components
based on size of government, taxation, and labor-market freedom. In
2014, we launched our EFNA Network to promote the EFNA report across the
Starting with 10 partners in nine states, the EFNA
Network now comprises 25 full partners representing 22 U.S. states,
Canada and Mexico.
Thanks to our Network, EFNA media mentions in
the United States jumped by a whopping 243 percent after the release of
EFNA 2014. The number of downloads of the two most recent editions of
EFNA has more than doubled since the establishment of the EFNA Network,
to 10,000-plus downloads. All told, there have been 20 states with EFNA
2015 placements, mentions and/or outputs this year (as of May 31, 2016)
vs. nine states last year; 19 placements in national outlets this year
vs. six last year; 67 articles, essays, op-eds and blog posts this year
vs. 24 last year. And we’re still counting. That’s real impact.
convened our second annual gathering of EFNA Network partners June 1-2,
2016, in Dallas. As in Year One, our partners at SMU’s O’Neil Center
for Global Markets and Freedom hosted the event, which included 21
think-tank leaders and free-market scholars representing four nations,
10 states, 11 EFNA Network partners and 15 free-market organizations.
those in attendance: the Grassroot Institute (Hawaii), Texas Public
Policy Foundation, Mackinac Center (Michigan), Buckeye Institute (Ohio),
Arkansas Center for Research in Economics at the University of Central
Arkansas, Pelican Institute (Louisiana), Johnson Center for Political
Economy at Troy University (Alabama), Center for the Philosophy of
Freedom at the University of Arizona, SMU O'Neil Center for Global
Markets and Freedom (Texas), George W. Bush Institute (U.S.), Life and
Liberty Indexes (U.S.), Visio Institute (Slovenia), Caminos de la
Libertad (Mexico) and the Fraser Institute (Canada).
was up from Year One in the number of attendees and in the number of
nations, states and organizations represented, but it’s important to
note that the conference represented just a fraction of our current EFNA
Network. The Beacon Center (Tennessee), Sagamore Institute (Indiana),
Commonwealth Foundation (Pennsylvania), James Madison Institute
(Florida), Caesar Rodney Institute (Delaware), Independent Institute
(California), Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at the University of
Louisville (Kentucky), Alaska Policy Forum, Washington Policy Center,
Georgia Center for Opportunity, Public Policy Foundation of West
Virginia, Great Plains Public Policy Institute (South Dakota), Institute
for Economic Inquiry at Creighton University (Nebraska) and
Independence Institute (Colorado) are also part of our EFNA Network.
Our Network partners contributed to the promotion and distribution of EFNA 2015 in several creative ways.
State-Specific Versions of EFNA
Buckeye Institute of Ohio fully embraced the role of “co-publisher” by
adding state-specific findings to the report and publishing an Ohio version of the report. Buckeye added its logo to the cover and Ohio-specific
data (which included Ohio’s strengths, weakness and comparisons to
neighboring states) as an intro to the report. Buckeye also published
the Ohio-specific data as a standalone product on its website,
distributed state-specific info sheets to state policymakers and posted
the state-specific info on social media. Buckeye’s media blitz also led
to stories in Ohio newspapers.
product is a dashboard of Ohio's strengths and weaknesses,” Buckeye COO
Rea Hederman explains. “As Ohio's rankings improve, this reinforces a
positive message to our policy influencers on why good policy affects
economic freedom. The EFNA also singles out particular areas of need for
Ohio to improve.” Hederman adds that sending the report to donors had a
Newsletters and Magazines
has used the EFNA report as fuel for its print and electronic
publications more frequently or more effectively than the Mackinac
Center. Mike LaFaive and Jack McHugh churned out a steady stream of articles for Mackinac’s Capitol Confidential, which reaches some 35,000 subscribers. Some of these articles led to stories in Michigan newspapers.
Mackinac was not alone. The Pelican Institute used EFNA 2015 as jumping-off point for a Louisiana-specific article in The Pelican Post, and the Fraser Institute promoted EFNA 2015 in the State Policy Network’s magazine, SPN News.
Skype-casts and Interviews
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a trailblazer when it comes to leveraging EFNA findings (and authors) for insightful interviews. The Fraser Institute also contributed to the cause, conducting an interview with The New York Post.
Blogs and Social Media
of our partners used the findings and data from EFNA 2015 as fodder for
their blogs and Facebook pages. The Beacon Center, Commonwealth
Foundation (here and here), Mackinac Center (here, here and here) and Buckeye Institute generated blogs and social media highlighting EFNA 2015.
partners took advantage of our state-tailored media releases to
generate interest in the report. Several even produced their own media
releases, which led to broader coverage of, and exposure for, EFNA 2015.
For instance, the Alaska Policy Forum’s media release led to stories in business and policy journals. Likewise, the Grassroot Institute’s release led to a story in one of the state’s largest newspapers.
The report would not have generated the media interest it did in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Nebraska without our partners at the Independent Institute, Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), SMU O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, Commonwealth
Foundation and the Institute for Economic Inquiry at Creighton
Several Network members, like TPPF (here), Johnson Center at Troy University (here, here and here), Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at the University of Louisville (here), Arkansas Center for Research in Economics at the University of Central Arkansas (here), the SMU O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom (here, here and here), and the Fraser Institute (here) used the report as a springboard for scores of columns in prominent national and statewide publications.
from the Johnson Center at Troy University and SMU O’Neil Center for
Global Markets and Freedom cited EFNA in academic papers (here and here). In addition, in 2015 EFNA was cited in the following journals: Economic
Behavior, Economic Freedom and Entrepreneurship, The Russian Journal of
Economics, The Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions
& Money, Economics & Politics, Social Philosophy and Policy,
The Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, The Journal of
Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Private Financing of Public
Transportation Infrastructure: Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships, and Contemporary Economic Policy.
TPPF, the Johnson Center at Troy University and James Madison University hosted EFNA authors for events.
it all together, and it seems there are almost as many ways to use the
EFNA report as there are partners in the EFNA Network.