Public Choice

, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 313–335

Economic freedom, culture, and growth


DOI: 10.1007/s11127-010-9656-z

Cite this article as:
Williamson, C.R. & Mathers, R.L. Public Choice (2011) 148: 313. doi:10.1007/s11127-010-9656-z


How do economic freedom and culture impact economic growth? This paper argues that culture, as measured by the World Values Surveys, and economic institutions associated with economic freedom are both independently important for economic prosperity, but the strength of their impact can be better understood only when both are included in the growth regression. Our results indicate that economic freedom is more important than culture for growth outcomes, suggesting substitutability between the two. We posit that culture is important for growth when economic freedom is absent, diminishing in significance once economic freedom is established.


Culture Informal institutions Economic freedom Economic growth 

JEL Classification

O43 P50 Z1 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development Research Institute, Department of EconomicsNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Charles G. Koch Doctoral Fellow, Department of EconomicsWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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