Liechtenstein Politische Schriften
status of having been a colony of European countries, espe cially of the British Empire, might have strongly influenced welfare levels and growth paths by creating an initial disadvantage (no history of indepen- dence, an economy tailored to the needs of the colonial country, too lit - tle investment, a misadjusted economic structure with high dependence on resources, few niche strategies). Note further that geographic loca - tion or other geographic variables might play a role, since all traditional VSC are located in Europe. The advantages of the larger European mar- ket may, however, be offset by the very high risk of being annexed in one of the many European wars during the last centuries. In more or less peace ful times (since 1945) and with the ever-increasing openness of Euro pean countries, the advantages of VSC can fully be exploited and the disadvantages are diminished. Table 5.4 also reveals – as briefly mentioned above – that social ho- mogeneity does not seem to be an important factor for the success of VSC, contrary to our expectations and contrary to arguments raised in many studies of very small countries. Ethnic and linguistic fractionaliza- tion in the chosen VSC is sometimes relatively high, especially bearing in mind the small number of inhabitants and/or the small area. It might simply be the case that it is unimportant or more or less unimportant in economic terms to have a homogeneous population with regard to eth- nicity and language. A successful VSC is «forced» to be international due to its high dependency on export and imports and due to the lack of pos- sibilities at home, especially in education. Moreover, VSC are often de- pendent on workers from abroad, like, e.g., Liechtenstein. It is there fore not correct to speak of a VSC’s population homogeneity as one of the major advantages of VSC. On the contrary, in most cases its interna - tional orientation and its heterogeneity in population seem to be a factor of 
success.114 Economic structure and specialization It is rather astonishing that the distribution of the workforce among the three main sectors is not uniform across the high-income VSC and does 156 
The economics of sovereignty: «secrets of success» of very small countries 114Unfortunately, we can say nothing about the identification of citizens with VSC. A possibly strong identification might play an important role in the perception of «ho- mogeneity».


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