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MORGANTOWN, WV -

Joshua Hall of the West Virginia University College of Business & Economics is featured on a new PBS documentary thanks to his work on "Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report."

Hall, an associate professor of economics who graduated from West Virginia University in 2007, has co-authored the widely cited report. 

Released 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 report is the subject of a documentary called "Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives" being aired nationally on PBS. A special closed viewing of the documentary was hosted by B&E at the Mountainlair Jan. 14.

The one-hour documentary profiles entrepreneurs from Zambia, Chile, South Korea, Slovakia and other nations that have increased economic freedom for their citizens. 

The report uses 42 variables to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom. 

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

Venezuela has the lowest level of economic freedom worldwide, with Myanmar, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Chad rounding out the bottom five countries. Some nations, like North Korea and Cuba, are not ranked because of a lack of data.

Writing the report along with Hall were James Gwartney of Florida State University and Robert Lawson of Southern Methodist University. The report is produced by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 90 nations and territories worldwide.