TODAY NICARAGUA – Nicaragua’s economic freedom score is 58.4, making its economy the 102nd freest in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom. Its score is 1.8 points better than last year, with significant improvements in investment freedom and the control of government spending offsetting declines in labor freedom and freedom from corruption. Nicaragua is ranked 18th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is below the world average.
Over the 20-year history of the Index, Nicaragua has advanced its economic freedom score by nearly 16 points, a top-20 improvement facilitated especially by gains in the area of market openness as measured by trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. Scores for three of the 10 economic freedoms, notably monetary freedom, have advanced by 20 points or more. Nicaragua reached its highest economic freedom score in 2006 and was rated “moderately free” during most of the 2000s.
Since 2009, however, Nicaragua’s economy has fallen back to “mostly unfree.” Anti–free market policies are bolstered by economic and political populism that drives class warfare. Institutional weaknesses persist in protection of property rights and combating corruption.