Lithuania’s level of economic freedom has been steadily improving. The country has jumped up by two positions and ranked 13th in the world in the 2015 edition of the Index of Economic Freedom. The index is compiled by the Heritage Foundation in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.
The Lithuanian Free Market Institute is listed among the most prestigious think tanks in the world. This year the University of Pennsylvania’s (USA) Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked LFMI 11th in Central and Eastern Europe. The Global Go To Think Tank Index evaluates almost 7000 think tanks worldwide.
For a fifth year in a row LFMI has ranked Lithuanian local administrations to show which municipalities are best and which are worst in serving their citizens, fostering good governance and providing conditions to attract investment and create prosperity. This year the capital city of Vilnius has topped the ranking.
You were ‘nice’? Here is a reward. You were ‘naughty’ – here is a punishment. There is a kind of a social contract between an individual and Santa Claus. This simple and intuitive logic is not uncommon in many cultures. But I cannot help at wonder: what would Santa Claus be like if he was a government figure?
The goal of the project was to unfold and analyze the composition, causes and consequences of the shadow economies in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Belarus and to draw policy recommendations for tackling the shadow economies in the respective countries.
Let’s be honest. Governments remember deregulation in their talks with businesses or during election campaigns. But they do not pay nearly as much attention to deregulation as they do to expanding regulatory obligations, increasing taxes, or telling people how to behave.
Cash payment restrictions would increase individual and corporate expenses and would cause payment inconveniences. How would one be expected to make larger payments at weekends when interbank transfers are not made? A forced „banking“ of cash reduces competition among payments methods.
There are those who view markets as functional (albeit imperfect) tools for economic decisions and those who think markets always fail at this task. Add to that the intricacies of the energy sector, and the discussion about markets in the energy sector becomes an argument between economists and engineers written down by lawyers.
The shadow economy in Lithuania is contracting but it remains widespread. A third of people in Lithuania have friends or relatives who work in the shadow labour market and receive part of their wage or their entire wage “under the table.”