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Island Status, Country Size and Institutional Quality in Former Colonies


  • Congdon Fors, Heather

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of island status and country size on institutional quality, and to determine if these institutional effects can explain the relatively strong economic performance of islands and small countries. One of the main findings of this paper is that the relationship between island status and institutional quality is significantly positive, and that these results are robust to the inclusion of a number of control variables. Further, we find that country size is negatively related to institutional quality, which is in keeping with previous results. Finally, using an instrumental variable method we demonstrate that when Rule of Law is included in regressions on levels of per capita GDP, the positive effects of small country size and island status disappear. These results provide further support for our hypothesis that institutions account for these countries’ relatively better economic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Congdon Fors, Heather, 2007. "Island Status, Country Size and Institutional Quality in Former Colonies," Working Papers in Economics 257, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0257

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Olsson, Ola, 2009. "On the democratic legacy of colonialism," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 534-551, December.
    2. Camilleri, Silvio John & Falzon, Joseph, 2013. "The Challenges of Productivity Growth in the Small Island States of Europe: A Critical Look of Malta and Cyprus," MPRA Paper 62489, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Olsson, Ola, 2007. "On the Institutional Legacy of Mercantilist and Imperialist Colonialism," Working Papers in Economics 247, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    islands; political institutions; economic institutions; rule of law; development;

    JEL classification:

    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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