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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ECONOMIC FREEDOM AND POVERTY RATES: CROSS COUNTRY EVIDENCE BY COLIN DORAN

September 25, 2020

For decades, economists have suggested that sustained economic growth is not possible without the crucial pillars of economic freedom and personal liberty. Colin Doran and Thomas Stratmann, in their groundbreaking research study, The Relationship between Economic Freedom and Poverty Rates: Cross Country Evidence, sought to analyze this claim. By applying modern economic statistical methods to three different income thresholds and certain components of freedom over twenty years, Doran and Stratmann have proven that economic freedom is essential to reducing poverty worldwide.

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THE CRISIS IN CIVIL RIGHTS BEST BOOKS AND ARTICLES ON RACE, POLICE, AND THE WELFARE STATE

September 25, 2020

America’s national discussion on the issues of civil rights, policing, race, and the welfare state has great potential to advance “liberty and justice for all.” But our march toward this noble goal will stall unless we acquire—and act on—a deeper shared understanding of the relevant achievements that scholars have made in the fields of history, economics, law, and political philosophy.

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212. THE HISTORY OF ISLAM AND LIBERALISM, THE POWER OF REFUGEES, AND THE LEGACY OF THE ARAB SPRING

September 22, 2020

It’s been ten years since the Arab Spring and Nouh El Harmouzi, director of the Arab Center in Morocco, and Dr. Tom Palmer played a major role promoting liberty in Egypt at the beginning of the movement. Hear Nouh tell his story and describe the current state of the Middle East in light of the continuing refugee crisis. Plus, a discussion on the roots of individualism and freedom within the Islamic tradition.

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SUSPENDING THE CAT WILL JUMPSTART OHIO’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY

September 21, 2020

The Buckeye Institute, a longtime partner of Atlas Network, is spearheading research that could jumpstart Ohio’s post COVID-19 economy. In their May 28 policy memo, “Suspending the CAT Will Help Ohio's Economy”, Buckeye determined that suspending Ohio’s commercial activities tax (CAT) for the upcoming fiscal year would help struggling businesses survive economic strife caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Temporarily removing the CAT can help reignite Ohio’s economy after the recent shutdown and would increase the efficiency and bandwidth of businesses by eliminating the unnecessary tax

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A GUIDE TO MEASURING REGULATORY PERFORMANCE: KEFIM’S REGULATORY QUALITY INDEX

September 21, 2020

Red tape and regulatory uncertainty are among the biggest inhibitors to economic growth and job creation in Greece. Until 2019, the government held a monopoly on the auditory work for business and environmental permits, as well as for quality standards testing of market goods. This resulted in long delays to start a business. It also generated significant regulatory uncertainty, large fixed and compliance costs, and high taxes. On top of all of this, due to the Greek debt crisis of the last decade, the government’s auditory authority has been underfunded and understaffed.

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CDE’S ‘FUNGUA NJIA’ PROJECT IS CHANGING CROSS-BORDER TRADE IN THE GREAT LAKES

September 18, 2020

In the last five years, Burundi has ranked among the least free economies in Africa based on the Fraser Institute’s studies in the Economic Freedom of the World report. Burundi’s hostile economic corridor is mainly due to its repressive border protection policies. These policies make cross border trade between Burundians and their counterparts in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo a nightmare.

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211. COMBATTING CRONY CAPITALISM IN MICHIGAN—JOE LEHMAN AND MIKE LAFAIVE

September 15, 2020

What does crony capitalism look like? In Michigan, it looks like seventy years of the state government taking money from small businesses to give big corporations special incentives to create jobs. Joe Lehman, president of Mackinac; and Mike Lafaive, senior director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, explain the ways they show government officials and everyday citizens how these programs are not only ineffective but immoral. They also give practical advice for how other free market think tanks can combat similar programs, as well as the narrative that cronyism and government corruption are the same as free market economics.

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LINDA WHETSTONE NAMED PRESIDENT OF MONT PELERIN SOCIETY

September 10, 2020

Linda Whetstone was seventeen years old in 1959 when she attended her first Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) meeting with her father, Sir Antony Fisher, at Oxford. She was studying the equivalent of high school economics at the time, and was inspired by the revolutionary ideas discussed by the attendees and presentations from speakers such as Professor Friedrich Hayek.

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210. SHINING A LIGHT ON LEBANON’S KEY MOMENT—PATRICK MARDINI

September 7, 2020

Patrick Mardini, president and founder of the Lebanese Institute for Market Studies (LIMS), provides a free market perspective on the fallout of the recent explosions in Beirut. Patrick also describes the precipice that Lebanon currently finds itself; with the choice to either embrace an open economy for trade and utilities, or to hold onto a legacy of mass government control. You’ll also hear about the amazing work Patrick is doing to improve lives by promoting policies that quite literally keep the lights on.

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CAN THE FREE-MARKET MOVEMENT LEAD ON POVERTY?

September 3, 2020

In the last several years, U.S. think tanks have expanded their work to include important liberty topics that are of particular relevance to low-income communities. Are there more frontiers for fighting big government on behalf of the disadvantaged that think tanks could be leading on?

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DEFINING THE FUTURE OF THE LIBERTY MOVEMENT IN THE U.S.

September 3, 2020

In August, 20 of the top think tank CEOs in the U.S. gathered in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia (with strict social distancing practices in place) to redefine the liberty agenda for 2021 and beyond. With COVID-19 and social unrest on their minds, the group, a subset of Atlas Network’s Global Council of CEOs, worked intensively to identify the crucial issues, opportunities, strategies, and messaging that would optimize this moment in American history for the benefit of human freedom.

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209. WHAT DOES ECONOMIC FREEDOM MEAN?—FRED MCMAHON

September 1, 2020

Believe it or not, the Communist Party of Vietnam just cosponsored an economic freedom audit in their country. Fred McMahon, Michael Walker Chair of Economic Freedom Research at the Fraser Institute, explains what economic freedom is, why it matters, and what it looks like on every continent (except Antarctica).

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IMANI LEADS CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AHEAD OF GHANA’S DECEMBER ELECTIONS

August 28, 2020

IMANI Center for Policy and Education is at the forefront of civil organizations engaging political parties and electorates ahead of Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2020. It recently conducted a study assessing the commitments of the country’s two main political parties towards child responsive inclusive growth and other key policy issues leading up to the polls.

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FUNDACIÓN LIBERTAD PRESERVES CIVIL LIBERTIES AND EQUALITY IN THE ARGENTINE COURTS

August 26, 2020

A new initiative of Fundación Libertad, an Atlas Network partner in Argentina, is preserving civil liberties and equality in the Argentine court system, through precedent-setting victories. Launched in 2018, the Liberty through Justice initiative takes a unique approach to advocating freedom by taking the arguments directly to the courts. “The goal of the Liberty through Justice initiative,” explained Fundación Libertad’s director of legal investigation, Garret Edwards, “is to provide free legal resources to people in Argentina who either do not possess the means or have not found a proper way to have their rights defended and guaranteed, in particular when it comes to cases relating to freedom in all of its senses, and human rights.”

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208. LIBERALIZATION IN SRI LANKA—DHANANATH FERNANDO

August 25, 2020

As Sri Lanka nears a complete re-opening post-pandemic and orients itself to a newly elected government, the Advocata Institute continues to advocate the power of a free and open society in the Asian country. Dhananath Fernando, COO and founding member of Advocata, gives us an update on recent events and explains how the think tank communicates the narrative of less government and more liberty to Sri Lankan youth, government, and the entire nation. Dhananath also describes the connection between libertarian ideals and a desire to help others and gives advice to anyone wondering if/ how they should start a think tank.

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CENTER FOR INDONESIAN POLICY STUDIES NAMED FINALIST FOR ATLAS NETWORK’S 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD

August 24, 2020

Since gaining independence in 1945, Indonesia’s government has pursued a harmful policy of food self-sufficiency that imposes severe import restrictions, tariffs, price controls, monopolies by state-owned enterprises, and barriers to entry—all in the name of independence. These laws increase the cost of food, resulting in widespread malnutrition among Indonesia’s low-income population. Those protectionist trade policies have led to significant food insecurity across Indonesia: 26 million people lack the income to buy adequate food and an additional 68 million Indonesians are considered extremely vulnerable to food price increases.

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CENTRE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH NAMED A FINALIST FOR ATLAS NETWORK’S 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD

August 24, 2020

For more than half a century, the Kerala Shops & Establishments Act has regulated labor standards and restrictions for commercial establishments within the state of Kerala, India. In this state of nearly 35 million people, the law controls everything from which days and for how many hours a shop can operate to when women can work. Since its implementation in 1960, women have been prevented from working night shifts, contributing to an unemployment rate nearly five times that of men and limiting their income potential. To increase Kerala’s employment opportunities and correct the discrimination women face there, the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) assembled a team to conduct research and educate the public on the costs of these restrictions.

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FRASER INSTITUTE NAMED A FINALIST FOR ATLAS NETWORK’S 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD

August 24, 2020

Historically, Alberta has been a leader in sound economic governance within North America. However, that standing has declined in recent years due to poor public policy from across the political spectrum. To reverse this trend, the Fraser Institute launched the Alberta Prosperity Initiative (API) in 2012, seeking to explain to residents and government officials the extent to which Alberta’s growing challenges were being driven by economic mismanagement and how a change in policy would restore Alberta’s premier status as an economic powerhouse. Thanks to their effective research and promotion, Fraser created popular demand in the province for market-oriented reform.

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IDEAS LABS NAMED A FINALIST FOR ATLAS NETWORK’S 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD

August 24, 2020

More than one million Costa Ricans—almost 20 percent of the country’s population—live in poverty while almost ten thousand receive “luxury pensions.” This privileged group, dubbed “Ticos Con Coronas” (or “Costa Ricans with Crowns”), receive an average monthly pension of US$4,495, with some receiving as much as US$24,000 per month. The traditional Social Security regime is capped at US$2,700 per month, with an average monthly pension of less than US$600. For non-contributory individuals living below the poverty line, the cap is US$140. These luxury pensions, paid by taxpayers and currently grossing over 2 percent of the national GDP, have rattled the Costa Rican economy, and have created a class divide between the small and privileged “Ticos Con Coronas” pensioners and everyone else.

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MERCATUS CENTER NAMED A FINALIST FOR ATLAS NETWORK’S 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD

August 24, 2020

Certificate of need (CON) laws require healthcare providers to seek regulatory approval before opening or expanding their facilities. Often a lengthy, costly, and unpredictable process, CON laws have decreased quality and access to care, while increasing costs for patients and providers. Since 2016, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has spearheaded efforts to highlight the failures of these policies. Their work has demonstrated a path to reform for the 37 states with CON laws on the books.

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PERC NAMED A FINALIST FOR ATLAS NETWORK’S 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD

August 24, 2020

Protecting endangered species is a fairly uncontroversial policy issue. While the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) has helped to prevent 99 percent of listed species from going extinct, only two percent of those species have ever recovered their populations to warrant no longer being listed. To improve this poor track record, the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) launched its “Recovering Endangered Species” project in 2017, aimed at enhancing outcomes for endangered species through market-based incentive structures that leverage both private and public conservation efforts.

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GROUPS FROM CANADA, COSTA RICA, INDIA, INDONESIA, & US NAMED 2020 TEMPLETON FREEDOM AWARD FINALISTS

August 24, 2020

Awarded annually since 2004, Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. This prestigious prize honors Sir John’s legacy by recognizing Atlas Network’s partner organizations for exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise and the advancement of public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment. The award is generously supported by Templeton Religion Trust and is presented live during Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner. The winning organization receives a $100,000 grand prize and the runners-up each receive $20,000.

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BEING A COMPLIANT TAXPAYER IN ARGENTINA NOW CARRIES A REWARD

August 21, 2020

In Argentina, excessively high tax rates have made it difficult for citizens to pay them on time. To provide some flexibility, the government offers “tax moratoriums”—10-year windows where taxpayers can catch-up on their dues with no penalty. Originally a useful tool, the moratorium has evolved into the preferred means of paying taxes in the country that is constantly extended, with over half of all taxpayers opting in.

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