My 50-Year Research Journey on the Economies of Malta and Other Small States

Authors: Lino Briguglio

Corresponding: Lino Briguglio (

Keywords: Small states, Economic vulnerability, Economic resilience, Climate change, Maltese economy, Research journy

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2021.3.04

This article presents an overview of my work since the early 1970s. My early works were mostly related to the Maltese economy. Between 1989 to date, I focused my research interest on economic vulnerability and economic resilience of small states. I associated economic vulnerability with the high exposure to adverse external shocks by small states, mostly due to their high dependence on external trade as a result of their small domestic market. A piece of research on economic vulnerability published in World Development in 1995 was highly cited, possibly because it led the way in the construction of economic vulnerability indices, and ushered in a large number of studies on the same subject. I associated economic resilience with policy-induced changes which enable a country to withstand or recover from adverse external shocks. Two later studies on economic resilience which I co-authored pioneered the methodology for creating an economic resilience index, and were highly cited. My work on resilience highlighted the need for good governance. I end this personal overview, with the works that dealt with the pros and cons of island tourism, the role of competition law and policy in small states, the need for small states to be internationally competitive, the high degree of climate change vulnerability of small islands, and the need for sustainable development in islands in view of their environmental fragility. My 50-year research journey entailed thousands of labourious hours of processing and deriving conclusions from qualitative and quantitative information, but this often led to great satisfaction in seeing my studies published, cited and inspiring further research.

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