Libertarian Think-Tank Analysis: Pennsylvanians Rise in 2021 Rank of Personal Freedom Assessment

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Image via the Cato Institute.
Pa. residents gained traction since 2019 in personal freedoms.

Personal freedoms in Pennsylvania improved in the last year, according to an analysis by libertarian think tank Cato Institute in its annual Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.

Since the 2019 study, the Keystone State gained three positions on the national ranking, rising to its present spot at No. 14 from its two-year assessment at No. 17.

According to the Freedom in the 50 States report, the citizens of the Commonwealth enjoy fewer restrictions on their daily lives than those of neighboring states:

  • New Jersey, No. 47
  • Delaware, No. 44
  • Maryland, No. 45
  • New York, No. 50
  • Ohio, No. 31

Pennsylvania did especially well on fiscal policy, where it ranked among the top five (fifth place). That good news, however, was mitigated by state regulatory policies, which reduced its economic freedom score.

The Commonwealth also did well in monetary policy, thanks to being more fiscally decentralized than average, which sends a larger share of total tax intake to local governments.

Two other economic bellwethers were assessed as lower than national averages: public employment (9 percent of the private workforce) and gross domestic product (7.9 percent of adjusted income).

On the downside, Pennsylvania ranked No. 37 for regulatory policy, generating only mediocre performance for land-use freedom.

The state also lacks a right-to-work law, which further lowered its rating.

In addition, the Cato Institute found that the civil liability system in the state is much worse than the national average.

Read the entire freedom index report at the Cato Institute.

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