EFNA Network Keeps Growing and Sharing the Message

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Appeared in Fraser Insight, October 2023

With another exciting gathering of our EFNA Network just concluded in September and a new edition of the EFNA report scheduled for release in November, October is the ideal time to take stock of all the great work and impressive accomplishments of our growing continentwide partnership of free-market institutions.

Let’s start with that word “growing.” In the 2022-23 cycle, the EFNA Network has grown to include the Institute for the Study of Political Economy at Ball State University (Indiana), Frontier Institute (Montana) and Economic Freedom Institute at Manhattanville College (New York). The Network now enfolds 60 members in 47 U.S. states/territories, Canada and Mexico.

Sharing Insights
EFNA Network partners took center stage at our annual EFNA Network Conference, which was hosted by our friends at SMU’s Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom. The conference brought together partner institutions from Hawaii, Texas, Puerto Rico, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Virginia, Minnesota, Arkansas, California, Alabama, Canada and Mexico.

“Our partners have terrific outreach to both local and national media organizations, spreading the word on economic freedom and the gains it produces in economic growth and human wellbeing,” said Fred McMahon (Fraser Institute’s Dr. Michael A. Walker Chair in Economic Freedom) in commenting on the impact of the EFNA Network.

Lisa Gates (vice president of communications at the Buckeye Institute in Ohio), Adam Summers (research fellow with the Independent Institute in California) and José Torra (EFNA coauthor and head of research at Caminos de la Libertad in Mexico) headlined the keynote session of the conference, which showcased strategies they have employed to spread the word on economic freedom in their regions and circles of influence.

Ángel Carrión-Tavárez (EFNA coauthor and director of research at the Puerto Rico Institute for Economic Liberty) and Martha Njolomole (economist at the Center of the American Experiment in Minnesota) led a session focused on innovative ways they have used EFNA in their research and in public outreach.

Drew Cline (president of the Josiah Bartlett Center in New Hampshire) and Adam Millsap (senior fellow with the Stand Together Trust in Virginia) discussed a national effort to promote what’s been called “freedom conservatism” as a way to meet the challenges America faces.

Meg Tuszynski (managing director of the Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom in Texas) shared her research findings related to women and economic freedom. Dean Stansel (an EFNA coauthor and a professor at SMU) discussed his research into the impact of economic freedom at the metro level. And Matt Mitchell (a U.S.-based senior fellow with the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom Center) discussed ways the EFNA index can be leveraged in research and education.

McMahon led the other coauthors of EFNA in offering a preview of the forthcoming EFNA report and an overview of the state of economic freedom across North America.

Making an Impact
As many of our EFNA Network partners highlighted during the conference, the Network continues to deploy the report in creative and impressive ways.

Network member organizations have generated 155 media placements during the 2022-23 cycle (up from 106 this time last year), including 34 placements in brand-new outlets this cycle. Partners in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Georgia have tallied the most media hits in the 2022-23 cycle. EFNA Network partners in Puerto Rico, Michigan and California have been especially effective at connecting with Spanish-speaking media outlets during the 2022-23 cycle. Along with efforts in its home state of Michigan, the Mackinac Center even spearheaded an outreach initiative to Univision.

That brings us to the Network’s national impact. EFNA 2022 has been featured in 26 national outlets, including The Hill, Forbes, Real Clear Markets, Voz, Americano Media, American Institute for Economic Research, Reason, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, The Wahington Examiner, National Review and Drudge Report. Those last two are especially impactful: An essay by a scholar from our Michigan partner (Mackinac Center) marked the first time EFNA was featured on Drudge Report (with its 47 million monthly visitors). National Review published an article highlighting collaborations led by the Buckeye Institute of Ohio with the Alaska Policy Forum, Wyoming Liberty Group, Pelican Institute of Louisiana and Iowans for Tax Relief (EFNA Network partners all).

On the policy side of the ledger, EFNA was cited in testimony before the Puerto Rico Senate and Kentucky legislative committees. Representatives from the Institute for Economic Liberty in Puerto Rico spoke about economic freedom with congressional staff in D.C. Our Pennsylvania partner (Commonwealth Foundation) turned to EFNA scholars and EFNA data to underpin a study on poverty reduction in the state. And our Louisiana partner (Pelican Institute) used EFNA data to shape a blueprint for responsible state budgeting.

Since creation of the Network in 2014, EFNA has been featured in or cited by outlets in 44 states and territories; 84 scholarly publications, universities and think tanks; 37 national media outlets; 31 major statewide media outlets; and 195 local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and media outlets. These numbers represent an exponential increase in exposure for EFNA since before the formation of the EFNA Network.

In short, none of this would be possible without the creativity and hard work of our growing EFNA Network.

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