The Heritage Freedom Index is really a composite of measures that get at two different things: Good Government, and Less Government. Overall, the Good Government factors tend to dominate, and drive a lot of the correlation with good economic and quality of life outcomes. When one splits out the factors, the case for Less/Weaker Government weakens substantially, and the case for Clean/Non-Corrupt/Efficient government strengthens considerably.
This does not support many of the conclusions that are often drawn using the overall Heritage Index.
StatsGuy pops up on some American Economic blogs I like. He offers a post (from a few months ago) on whether the Heritage Freedom Index really measures “Economic Freedom” or simply “good governance.”