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Economic Freedom: Study Questions

Suggested Review Questions and Activities

Teachers: The following are questions and activities that can be given to your students after they read the materials in each section. The questions are meant to be asked as a review exercise, although some encourage critical thinking as well. The activities can be presented as classroom exercises or as individual homework assignments. Unlike the questions, they tend to require additional research. Some call for students to create mock trials or debates that would engage the entire class. Both the questions and the activities are formatted so that they might be used directly by students, although you may rewrite them as you feel necessary.

Essential Principles


Discuss Adam Smith's concept of laissez-faire—how does it affect national economies today?

Why are there "twin" characteristics of democracy?


Reread the Heritage Foundation's definition of economic freedom. Do you agree with it? Why or why not? How would you define it?



Why was Estonia able to improve its economy so quickly after independence from Soviet rule? Are there any lessons that other developing countries could learn from Estonia and apply themselves?


Compare the economic experiences of Estonia and Cuba. Both experienced communist economic policies. What factors influenced the different routes that the two countries have taken? Were there any similar factors that nevertheless led to different outcomes?



What factors contributed to the economic decline of Kenya, and when did it begin?


Freedom House lists Kenya as a Partly Free country. Research and compare Kenya's economic history with those of neighboring African countries. What are the Freedom House ratings for Kenya's neighbors, and what are their economic situations? Can any correlations between economics and freedom be observed?



Cuba has followed a communist policy for several decades now, and the United States has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba for almost as long. How has the trade embargo affected Cuba's economy? What has it meant for the lives of ordinary Cubans?


Read updates about the economic policy changes Raul Castro has brought to Cuba. What reforms have been enacted? Do you think Raul's decisions will make any substantial changes to the economy?