April 5, 2021 Print

One of Atlas Network’s Vietnamese partners, the Market Solutions Research Center for Social and Economic Issues (MASSEI), recently worked in conjunction with the National University of Economics and government officials from various agencies and ministries to conduct an Economic Freedom Audit that resulted in market-friendly policy recommendations in Vietnam.

“Similar to many countries, the Vietnamese government implemented strong measures to prevent [the spread of COVID-19], such as suspension of entry for all foreigners, nationwide isolation for 15 days, etc.,” said Dinh Tuan Minh, research director at MASSEI. “However, these strict measures were very costly and were tremendously harmful to Vietnamese businesses and social life, especially for the poor.”

Atlas Network’s Economic Freedom Audit series offers grants to think tanks operating in countries that score in the lower half of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World rankings to hold scholarly conferences with the goal of fostering conversations around market-oriented policy. MASSEI received a $15,000 grant from Atlas Network to organize such a conference to effectively convey the advantages of economic freedom and free markets in Vietnam.

“The conference was honored to have the presence of a number of high-profile persons such as the director general of the General Statistics Office of Vietnam and numerous economic advisors of the current and former prime ministers,” Dinh continued.

MASSEI leapt into action to prepare its conference in just ten days due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic. The successful event convened over 100 scholars, policymakers, and journalists to analyze data and collaborate to develop innovative solutions to the struggling economy.


With only 10 days to prepare due to the pandemic uncertainty, the event successfully gathered over 100 scholars, policymakers, and journalists. Among the attendees, five were serving as economic advisors for the prime minister and three were deputy ministers. Thirty news outlet sent journalists to the conference, and three television channels broadcasted the event.

Five months after MASSEI’s Economic Freedom Audit, the government of Vietnam implemented market reforms to combat economic devastation resulting from the pandemic. Vietnamese observers generally agree that the Economic Freedom Audit helped to advance more pro-market policies that will help revive the post-pandemic market.

“We believe that market-friendly measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will enable the government to have resources for improving infrastructure without raising taxes, for Vietnamese people to have capital to open new businesses, and for the country to attract more foreign investments, all of which promise to keep the country at a high economic growth rate in the future,” said Dinh.

This project was supported by Atlas Network with an Economic Freedom Audit Grant.

Economic Freedom Audits are a powerful tool used by Atlas Network partners to convey the advantages of economic freedom. They are designed to develop practical policy reform ideas, create local ownership, and deliver these ideas to government and the people of the nation. They enable participants and the public to see how their nation does against the regional, world, and top 10 averages in economic freedom in 42 dimensions, and provide world-class policy examples for improvement.

Atlas Network has provided grants for Economic Freedom Audits that have been or are being undertaken in Colombia, Burundi, Ecuador, Vietnam, Greece, Serbia, Argentina, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Oman, Panama, Jordan, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tunisia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Brazil, Namibia, Ghana, and Nepal.

Learn more about the Economic Freedom Audit Grant opportunity here.