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Satish Chand on the Challenges of Small Island States

Especially during the hot summer months, some of us might daydream about packing up and relocating to a small tropical island somewhere in the Pacific. From a development perspective, however, small island states face unique challenges—most obviously from rising sea levels, but also from the economic dynamics created by their small size and isolation. My guest this week is Satish Chand, a visiting fellow here at the Center for Global Development and a native of Fiji. On this week’s Wonkcast, we discuss a range of issues that affect small island nations, as well as Satish’s research on the effects of migration on human capital in Fiji.

Surprisingly, Satish tells me that nations surrounded by ocean share many of the problems of small landlocked countries. “Being landlocked impedes trade and communication just as much as being out there in the ocean,” Satish explains. Small populations and limited available land also make it difficult for these states to take advantage of economies of scale in providing basic services to their citizens.