Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Russell S. Sobel.


The impact of economic freedom on the quality of life is the subject of interest for this dissertation. Three separate studies are conducted. The first of these studies in Chapter 2 analyzes the impact of economic freedom on the quality of life in an international panel data study between 1985 and 2000. It is found that economic freedom and in particular well-defined property rights and limited regulation lead to improvement in the quality of life using the Index of Human Progress, an index made up income, health and education indicators, and access to modern technology for individuals in a given country. Chapter 3 contains the second study, a cross-sectional analysis of migration of individuals between the ages of 20 and 59 in the United States between the lower 48 states between 1995 and 2000. The impact of economic freedom on migration as well as other control variables is measured and it is found that economic freedom has a positive impact on the decision to migrate in aggregate. After decomposing the index into the raw data, it is found that individuals move towards states with less restrictive minimum wages, less restrictive tax rates for the top income group, less unionization, and less dependence on public employment. It also found that individuals migrate towards states with relatively higher expenditures by government. Chapter 4 contains the last of three studies. This essay is an analysis of positive changes in economic freedom on income and income growth for the lowest, middle, and highest quintiles of income in the lower 48 states between 1980 and 2003. It is found that economic freedom has significant impacts on income levels and growth rates for all three groups. However, the results are the strongest for the lowest and middle quintiles. The share of income held by the lowest quintile increases as a result of improvements in economic freedom whereas the same change will lower the share of income held by the highest quintile. It is found that inequality between the highest income quintile and the lowest quintile in the United States is lowered by improvements in economic freedom.