In the mid- to late-1980s, the Fraser Institute hosted a series of Liberty Fund conferences on economic freedom, which led to Fraser's Annual Report on Economic Freedom.
Your friendly proprietor wrote the seminal papers that underpinned the index. They appeared as Chapters 2, 3, and 4 in Fraser's 1991 publication, Economic Freedom: Toward a Theory of Measurement (the proceedings of a conference held in 1988). Michael Walker wrote an introduction, and Zane Spindler and Laurie Still took a first stab at economic freedom rankings.
Chapter 2 is titled "Philosophical Aspects of Economic Freedom." Chapter 4 is "Preliminary Definition of Economic Freedom." Each session is accompanied by discussion among the conference participants including Milton, Rose, and David Friedman among others.
Economic freedom is under assault from both the left and the right. Unless it is vigorously defended and preserved against those screaming in favor of seizing more and more of the income and wealth of hard-working productive Americans, economic freedom will continue to slide away.