August 8, 2018 Print

Novi Sad contains a designated free trade zone, as documented in Libek's recent study.

Serbian-based Libertarian Club Libek has recently released two studies — one drawing from international economic studies that agree that free economies result in thriving economies, and the other explains the positive impact that “free trade zones” have had on the Serbian GDP — both of which make the case for lower regulation as a means of strengthening the Serbian economy. Libek plans to use these findings to continue their campaign for a freer Serbia and for prosperity for the entire region.

“Serbia is a country that is central for stability and prosperity of the Balkans region, and yet it remains among the countries with lowest economic freedoms in Europe, ” said Petar Čekerevac, Libek’s executive manager. “Increasing economic freedom in Serbia either through incremental reforms or bold experiments ... would benefit the economies of neighboring countries, their own economic freedoms and the overall peace and stability in the Balkans region."

The Importance of Economic Freedom gathered data from academic studies that concerned economic freedom published between 1994 and 2016. Their research identified studies that dealt with economic freedom; specifically the correlation between economic freedom and economic growth. Of those studies, 93.5 percent identified a positive correlation between economic freedom and economic growth. This evidence of consensus among economists about the positive relationship between freedom and prosperity is a powerful tool for Libek as it advocates for free market policies to the Serbian people and government.  

Free trade zones in Serbia – current situation overview provides a detailed analysis of the effects the fourteen designated “free trade zones” had on the Serbian economy in 2016. Contrary to what the name may imply, free trade zones are burdened with many cumbersome regulations and taxes which keep them from thriving as much as they could otherwise. In spite of those obstacles these zones have been tremendously successful — more than doubling in size since 2008. Libek’s report found that these zones employed 25,000 people in 2016 and that a 10 percent increase in productivity of the zones would lead to a nearly 1 percent increase in GDP for the entire nation. The report also concluded that, had the entire country’s economy grown at the same rate as that of the free trade zones, the Serbian GDP in 2016 would have been 316 billion dollars. That would have made Serbia one of the top fifteen wealthiest countries in Europe.

Libertarian Club Libek is on the front line for freedom in a part of Europe that has a long history opposition to individual liberty, which makes its continued successes in research and advocacy that much more impressive and heartening.