1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development (2000 - 2009)

Methodology workshop: Social Policies in Small States

Date: 1 - 2 Oct 2007



UNRISD in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat will organize a methodology workshop on their research project on “Social Policies in Small States” to be held on the 1 - 2 October 2007. The main objective of this workshop will be to present and agree on the methodology and conceptual framework for the research project.

Issues surrounding small, often island states, are still under-researched, especially in relation to social policy issues. Apart from contributing towards the empirical literature on small states, this research intends to investigate why some small states have succeeded in formulating original social development policies to overcome their chronic vulnerabilities, while others have failed. It will investigate the reasons behind such policy performance by looking into different hypotheses that explain good or bad performance. In particular, the research will look at consensual democracy (‘social pacts’ or societal corporatism), welfare state, power of jurisdictional resourcefulness, and levels of social cohesion/capital. In addition, by investigating social policies in small states from a comparative perspective, the findings will help unmask the complexities in designing social policies within different socio-economic, institutional and historic settings. Studying countries (both that have succeeded in achieving better social outcome and those that are still lagging behind) will provide lessons for others to consider.

Thirteen country studies will be undertaken: Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, OECS, Jamaica, Fiji, Tonga & Samoa, Tuvalu & Kiribati, Vanuatu & Solomon Islands, Malta & Cyprus, Mauritius, Seychelles, Lesotho & Swaziland. Researchers from these countries as well as some policy makers from regional bodies will be participating in the workshop.

During the workshop, four thematic papers will be presented:
  • Power of jurisdiction as a tool for promoting social policies, Godfrey Baldacchino
  • Social cohesion as a tool for promoting social policies, Jane Jensen
  • Welfare regimes and social policies, Geoffrey Bertram
  • Consensual democracy and social corporatism as tools for promoting social policies, Helen Hintjens

These theories will serve as a basis for the country studies, for which research proposals will be presented.

For more details, please see the project document and final agenda