2014 Archives

Documentary features Cox professor’s Economic Freedom research

Robert Lawson is the Jerome M. Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom

Watch the Documentary

Robert Lawson
Robert Lawson

“Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives” is being aired nationally on PBS television stations and in Dallas-Fort Worth on the PBS World Station, KERA-TV’s Channel 13.2, which is carried by Time Warner Cable.

The next local airing of “Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives” will be at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, Central Time.

Additionally, the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom will host a watch party at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Cox School’s Georges Auditorium in Crow 175. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Kathryn Shelton, kshelton@smu.edu or 214-768-4210.

January 10, 2014

Dallas (SMU)—A new documentary being broadcast on public television stations across the country features the work of Robert Lawson, the Jerome M. Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom at the SMU Cox School of Business. 

Lawson, a faculty member in the Cox School’s O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, is the co-author of the Economic Freedom of the World report, issued annually since 1996. The most recent report, released in September 2013, provides an economic freedom index of 151 nations representing more than 95 per cent of the world’s population.

The documentary, titled “Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives,” examines the impact of increased economic freedom in the lives of ordinary people worldwide.  The film-makers traveled to countries as diverse as Chile and Zambia to profile entrepreneurs benefiting from increased economic freedom in their home countries. The documentary also features interviews with Lawson and his co-authors.

 The Economic Freedom of the World 2013 report gauges the degree to which countries’ policies and institutions supported economic freedom in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available. In their widely-cited annual reports, Lawson and co-authors James Gwartney of Florida State University and Joshua Hall of West Virginia University measure the economic freedom cornerstones of personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and the security of privately-owned property.  To create their annual report and summary index, the authors consider 42 variables in the broad areas of government size; legal systems and property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally; and regulation.  

According to Lawson and his co-authors’ research, people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties and longer life spans.  In the most recent economic freedom report, the United States ranks 17th in the world, far behind Hong Kong, which tops the list.  The full 2013 report is available at www.freetheworld.com.


The Cox School of Business (cox.smu.edu) was originally established in 1920 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and was named in honor of benefactor Edwin L. Cox in 1978.  SMU Cox offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate business education programs, including the BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (PMBA), Executive MBA (EMBA), Master of Science in Accounting, Master of Science in Business Analytics, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Management, Master of Science in Sport Management, as well as Executive Education. The school also offers a number of unique resources and activities for students, including the Business Leadership Center (BLC), the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, the Folsom Institute for Real Estate, the Maguire Energy Institute, the Global Leadership Program and the Associate Board Executive Mentoring Program, as well as an international alumni network with chapters in more than 20 countries.


Find an Expert