Volltext: Very small countries: economic success against all odds

gard to per capita GDP (purchasing power parity; based on Armstrong- Read data) Liechtenstein fares best, followed by Jersey, Andorra and Iceland. Taking unemployment figures, again Liechtenstein takes the lead together with Andorra, slightly in front of Guernsey and Jersey. Another reason for this result, which makes it impossible to discrimi nate between VSC and SAR, might be the relatively high level of autonomy which all of the selected SAR enjoy. Although they have a less pro - nounced political autonomy in comparison to VSC, the autonomous scope of action of VSC and SAR in economic issues seems to be very si- milar. Note that indeed many formally sovereign VSC do not rely on their political sovereignty, but give up rights to adjacent countries. Recall that such an abandonment of sovereignty has been labeled «internatio- nal outsourcing» in Chapter 4.122 It is, however, important to have a considerable extent of law-mak - ing authority in economic decisions in order to promote niche strategies. Both VSC and SAR seem to be very active in defending these parts of sovereignty.123A good indicator for the VSC’s and SAR’s policy of pro- tecting special parts of sovereignty is the fact that their economic niches are a major hindrance to EU accession. Think for instance of Ice land, where the most prominent argument against EU membership is the loss of sovereignty in fishing. This conclusion might also be an explanation for the fact that nearly all VSC and SAR have treaties with the EU, but these treaties do not encompass all relevant issues. They always exclude small parts of the economy, especially in those areas where the economic niches of VSC and SAR are concerned. Armstrong et al. (1998) extend the European view of Armstrong and Read (1995) to a much larger set of VSC and SAR worldwide.124 Although data restrictions become more severe with such an approach and harmonized data are often unavailable, they are able to compare the economic performances of VSC and SAR with regional averages. The re- sults are, as anybody who has read so far would expect, very diverse. On a highly aggregated level (their Table 2) they find that VSC and SAR do 164 
The economics of sovereignty: «secrets of success» of very small countries 122Take the inexistence of military defense in most European VSC as an example. 123We will come back to that issue in the following sections. 124Again, we have to note that the choice of SAR is somehow arbitrary, and one could discuss the inclusion of further SAR. Note that most of the highly autonomous re- gions are, however, included.


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