Volltext: Very small countries: economic success against all odds

namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco and San Marino, GDP per capita exceeds US $ 20,000, which is quite remarkable, given that it approximately equals the EU 15 average99(= $ 20,546) for 1997. As already mentioned, the common feature of these highly developed VSC is their geographic location in continental Europe, with the obvious exception of Iceland. There are only three other VSC with a comparable level of wealth, namely Andorra, the Bahamas and Brunei. When we take these eight countries as examples of highly successful VSC, it is not possible to detect a single common determinant of their wealth. We observe that there are four countries with direct access to the sea (Bahamas, Brunei, Iceland and Monaco), two countries which rely heavily on their natural resources (Brunei: crude oil and natural gas; Iceland: fishing and aluminum), four countries with a considerable pro- portion of tourism contributing to GNP (Andorra, Bahamas, Monaco and San Marino), five countries specializing in financial services or bank - ing (Andorra, Bahamas, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and San Marino) and, finally, one country with an obvious position in the very narrow economic niche of hosting athletes, celebrities and other rich from all over the world by virtue of being a designated tax haven, especially for personal income tax (Monaco). One common denominator might be the existence of a considerab- ly large service sector in successful VSC (see Table A.15), where the pro- vision of the service may be either restricted to VSC territories (tourism) or may be international in the sense that clients and/or customers need not visit the VSC physically (financial services and banking). It is a fact that the provision of services exhibits fewer economies of scale than in- dustrial production. We therefore should not be surprised by that spe- cialization from a (narrow) point of view concentrating on production technologies. Hence, the picture that emerges, although not easy to ex- plain, is rather coherent, and size clearly plays a role in shaping not only the public sectors of VSC, but also their private sectors. It is however somehow surprising that many of the remaining 13 low-income VSC seem to have specialized in economic activities very similar  (see Table A.15) to those of the high-income VSC, and the group of 13 also exhibits a high proportion of economic activity in the tertiary 130 
The economics of sovereignty: «secrets of success» of very small countries 99OECD figures for PPP current prices.


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