The phantom of liberty?: economic growth and the vulnerability of small states

This paper is concerned with the relationship between economic growth in small states and their vulnerability. A critical argument in much of the literature on small states, particularly small island states, is that their growth performance is greatly constrained by their vulnerability to exogenous shocks because of their size. These shocks include economic, political and environmental factors, which together dampen the long-run growth rate of these economies. The paper makes use of a global small state data set and appropriate quantitative techniques to test the relationship between growth and vulnerability using the results of Briguglio's Vulnerability Index. The results highlight some of the conceptual shortcomings in the analytical literature on small states, particularly islands, as well as suggesting that the Vulnerability Index is mis-specified. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.