New Publication on the Political Economy of Microstates Lessons from the Political Economy of Small Islands: The Resourcefulness of Jurisdiction, edited by Godfrey Baldacchino & David Milne, Basingstoke, Macmillan Press (UK)  & New York, St Martin's Press (USA). ISBN - 0-333-77817-0; xxiii+266pp. Hardback edition.
Price: £45.00stg.  (Published: June 2000)

Small islands often enjoy a distinct juridical personality. Many, whether fully sovereign or not, successfully deploy this 'gift of jurisdiction' to economic advantage, offsetting the potentially adverse effects of smallness, isolation and peripherality. These legal powers, reflected in supportive policy and culture, are themselves key economic resources in a development strategy. This book  thus argues that jurisdictional status is, in itself, a resource critical for economic development.
The book documents such lessons from a most unlikely group of North Atlantic islands. It focuses on the experience of six, North Atlantic, cold-water islands boasting distinct constitutional arrangements - subjects of comparative research under the auspices of the North Atlantic Islands Programme, co-ordinated by the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island, in collaboration with Nord-Refo, the Nordic Council for Regional Policy Research. The constitutional status of the target islands ranges from full sovereignty (Iceland), to federation (Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland & Labrador)  to federacy or home rule status (Faroe Islands; Isle of Man;  Åland Islands). The text explores how the different constitutional, political and cultural features of these islands are deployed in strategic economic thinking and planning, leading these jurisdictions to craft a real 'political economy'.

The comparative interplay of economic and juridical resources is also taken up in relation to four major economic domains: the primary sector; small-scale manufacturing; export of knowledge-based services and tourism. In the outcome, practical 'best practice' proposals are suggested.

The text is introduced by a set of essays which explore the critical transversal themes of constitutionalism, international relations and culture from a comparative perspective, teasing out the specific advantages that these can bestow on small and insular players.

The book documents the 'gift of jurisdiction' as a strategy enabler, with law and public policy serving as the fuel for development. All the more so in a decentralizing globalized world, which offers lucrative opportunities for differentiation and niche strategies for small island jurisdictions.

Dr Baldacchino is a Sociologist specialising in island and small states studies. He is a Lecturer and Research Officer with the Workers' Participation Development Centre, University of Malta.

23 June, 2000