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WVU professor recognized in PBS documentary

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Joshua Hall, an associate professor of economics at West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, is the subject of a new PBS documentary.

His work, Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report, is the subject of a documentary titled "Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives" airing nationally on PBS. A special closed viewing of the special will be hosted by B&E at the Mountainlair at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14. The event will be held in the Gluck Theater and is free and open to the public.

Hall graduated from West Virginia University in 2007 and has co-authored the widely-cited annual report. Released worldwide every September, the report scores and ranks 151 countries on the extent to which their policies and institutions are consistent with personal choice, voluntary exchange and the freedom to enter and compete in markets.

"The measurement of economic freedom is important because, as Lord Kelvin pointed out long ago, until you can measure something your knowledge of it is meager and unsatisfactory," Hall said in a release. "Measuring economic freedom has allowed scholars around the world to show that more economic freedom is associated with higher levels of prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer life spans."

The one hour documentary travels the globe to profile inspiring entrepreneurs from nations that have increased economic freedom for their citizens — from Zambia to Chile and South Korea to Slovakia.

"Another reason measuring economic freedom is important is to document changes in counties over time," Hall added. "Our report helps document the sources of this decline, including increased government spending, weakened rule of law and protection of private property rights, and increased regulations on labor, business and credit," Hall said.

Hong Kong again topped the rankings of 151 counties and territories, followed by Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland. The United States now ranks 17th in the world for economic freedom.

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