A conservative U.S. think tank says economic freedom declined last year because of "reckless" government spending that has failed to stop the global financial crisis.
The average score in the annual Index of Economic Freedom ranking 184 countries released Thursday by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal fell to the second-lowest level in a decade.
Hong Kong was again named the world's freest economy while Singapore took second place, positions they have held since the index began 18 years ago. The United States slipped a notch to 10th place.
Countries are ranked based on measures including rule of law, how open their markets are, regulatory efficiency and size of government.