The two main empirical measures of freedom available assess either limited government or availability of opportunity. They do not measure autonomy, namely the feeling of freedom that people experience when they perceive themselves as masters of their own life. This project extends the analysis and measurement of freedom to autonomy and makes it an explicit component of the ideal society. The project aim is twofold. The first is theoretical. Building on the existing knowledge of the role of autonomy in society, the project extends and deepens, by means of an interdisciplinary approach, the conceptual foundations of Autonomy Freedom (AF, people’s perception of control over the way their life turns out) and analyzes its implications for the centrality of the person in society, for policy making, and for political design. To do so, the project analyzes the relation between autonomy and democracy, autonomy and happiness, autonomy and growth, autonomy and the emergence of rules and the foundations of autonomous behavior. The second aim of the project is operational. It develops a user friendly measure of AF that provides information to stakeholders on the level of autonomy experienced internationally (similarly to EFW, HDI). The project then combines this measure of freedom with the other available empirical freedom rods so as to link freedoms to a wide array of policy actions and to contribute to the design of free societies. Expected outputs for the theoretical side of the project range from books to articles in peer-reviewed journals, to conferences and op-eds. The operational side of the project aims to build a standardized measure of AF to be repeated at regular time intervals also combined with the other freedom rods; to publish a report on the trend of freedoms world wide, jointly with a major publisher; to develop a database and to construct an internet site. The strategic outcome is to put the human being at the center of the construction of a free society.
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