Session 1: Conceptualizing and evaluating models of island economies

A primary exploration of the concept “Beautiful Island Tourism Belt” of the New Marine Silk Road strategy
Huan ZHANG, Zhejiang University

Autonomy Plus: The policy challenges faced by subnational island jurisdictions
Dr. Godfrey BALDACCHINO, University of Malta, Malta

The world contains large numbers of subnational jurisdictions, many of which enjoy or suffer a special status, one that is not necessarily shared by the other similar subnational members of the federative state. In other cases, a particularly unique historical quirk, the existence of an aboriginal/First Nation community, a specific international treaty or similar ‘one off’ condition conspire to produce such circumstances.

However, governance and politics is a dialectic and iterative game. Federal politicians and bureaucracies will seek to expand their leverage and clout over subnational units; while these same units will seek to expand their existing powers to maintain a fuller sense of autonomy and determination. There is one catch however: full sovereignty or political independence is a redline that BOTH sides typically do not want to cross.

In this game of ‘autonomy plus’, therefore, the two sides are likely to agree and support measures that help to secure the goals and ambitions of both parties. In other words, the policies enacted and implemented at the subnational level are likely to meet central support (and therefore also funding and legislative support) if they are seen as ‘win win’ initiatives. A critical question then becomes: what policy measures, advanced by substate units, are likely to meet the blessings of the central state.

Recent history has seen the advancement of sub-state units as offshore finance centres (with mixed results) as an expression of this ‘win win’ condition. all the more so when the sub-state unit is a sub-national island jurisdiction (SNIJ), where the geographical boundedness and isolation helps to ring-fence any initiative (and thus ensuring the lack of spillover).

In the spirit of how the past may be a mirror of the future, this exploratory paper will review the policy capacities deployed by SNIJs and suggest whether these remain ‘fit for purpose’ for the challenges of the 21st century.

Study of island city industrial structure—Based on a comparison between Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, Fujian Province and Xiamen
Dr. Aiping FENG, Island Research Centre, State Oceanic Administration, China

Islands are the bridgehead of developing marine economy and the important foundation to expand space for marine economic development. Due to the different sea areas locations, abundance of ocean, island-mainland plant resources and the influences of market mechanism, socio-economic status, level of resource exploitation and administrative region economy, there exists a tremendous gap between various island cities social and economic development. This paper chose two typical islands cities of Xiamen and Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone in different development stages as research object and comprehensively analyzed the industrial structure evolution process of these two cities. The results show that: (1) the industrial structures of Pingtan and Xiamen have updated to advanced stage, the structure of Xiamen is more reasonable and difference of development potential of two cities has increased; (2) after the establishment of Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, Pingtan’s economy driven by whole society fixed asset investment has been highly developing and is under investment driven development model. Science and technology, foreign investment and residents’ consumption play an pull function on Xiamen’s economy which has transferred from investment, export driven model to residents’ consumption driven model. (3) The optimization of ocean industrial structure can help Pingtan and Xiamen to further enhance competitiveness.

Conceptualizing and evaluating models of island economies
Dr. Geoff BERTRAM, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, University of Wellington, New Zealand

Since the mid-1980s there have been a series of papers classifying small island economies on the basis of their balance of payments structures – in particular, the sources of financing to cover their cost of imports.  This work has focused on the sustainability of economic development, given that small islands are inevitably open economies in which living standards are closely tied to import capacity.  The resulting typology introduced three new ideal-types – MIRAB, PROFIT, and SITE – to put alongside the familiar model of export-led development.

There has been less progress made in systematically classifying and quantifying island economies in other dimensions.  How much difference does it make which region or ocean an island is located in?  How do the historical paths of particular islands during the colonial and post-colonial eras explain differences amongst them?  What is the influence of distance from each island’s metropolitan gravitational attractor?  Does the form of governance institutions make a systematic difference to economic performance?  These are only a few of the questions that can guide future research.  The foundations have in many cases already been laid but much remains to be done.

One conspicuous gap in the small-islands economic modelling to date is the contrast between islands that are located in centripetal, as distinct from centrifugal, regional force-fields.  Islands in centripetal regions are subject to strong gravitational forces from adjacent, larger, entities.  Those forces produce integrated large units within which small islands tend to become invisible to outside researchers working with global datasets.  Examples are Indonesia, the Philippines, the Greek islands, and Hainan in relation to China.

Because of their relative isolation, and hence visibility, islands in centrifugal regions are more easily identified, measured and classified.  Hence it is these more distant satellites of metropolitan core economies that have dominated comparative modelling of island economies.  The paper will reflect on the extent to which new data and conceptual frameworks may enable us to extend our existing models to a more comprehensive island universe. 

Enlightenment of Australian Recreational Fishery Development for Hainan
Dr. Jiting SUN, Marine Economy Research Center of Shandong Province, China

First, this article argues that recreational fishery has become the emerging industry in Hainan’s fishery industries in the “12th five-year” economic development period.

Second, this article reviews the development policies and management system of recreational fisheries in Australia:

(I) The Federal Government of Australia focuses on the macro leadership of recreational fisheries. Australia’s Federal Government is not responsible for the daily management of recreational fishery. The state and territory governments directly supervise the recreational fishery within their jurisdiction. The Federal Government, however, still plays a leadership role for the sustainable development of recreational fishery and establishes the high level management framework:

(1) The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is the highest government agency for the management of recreational fisheries in Australia, which is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the policies and management framework of recreational fisheries.

(2) The Federal Government established Recfish Australia as Australia’s highest civil organization representing the interest of all recreational fishermen communicating with the government, aiming to build a communication platform between all recreational fishermen and the government.

(3) The Federal Government and fishery industry jointly established the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation which has become the highest strategic research and development entity in Australia.

(4) The Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee is responsible for the review of the National Recreational Fishing Policy 1994, in order to developing the strategies of recreational fishery and adapting to the new situation.

(II)The Australian governments at all levels have pay great attention on the formulation and implementation of laws and regulations on recreational fishery. Each of the six states and two territories in Australia has separate, complete regulations governing the various forms of fishing and recreational fishing in both seas and freshwaters. The most common management approaches are licensing systems and restrictions on the variety, quantity, specification, fishing period and fishing zones. States and territories also keep updating related information on their government websites.

Third, this article argues that in Hainan recreational fishery not only improves fishery and marine economy, but also becomes an important approach to improve people’s physical and mental health. Therefore, governments at different levels in Hainan should take various measures to encourage people to participate in the recreational fishery activities.

Fourth, governments at all levels and relevant departments in Hainan should make full and scientific evaluation of fishery resources. According to the degree of resource consumption of recreational fishery, as well as people’s acceptability, in some economically developed areas, the recreational fishery licensing system should start to be introduced and reasonably priced.


Session 2: Measuring (Economic) Success on Islands

The relation between economic resilience and competitiveness with a focus on small states: Evidence from global indicators
Dr. Lino BRIGUGLIO, Islands and Small States Institute, University of Malta, Malta

The objective of this paper is to discuss the relationship between economic resilience and economic competitiveness with special reference to small states. Economic resilience and economic competitiveness are both associated with economic success, however they relate to different aspects of such success. Economic resilience has been used to refer to the ability of an economy to withstand or reduce the harm associated with external shocks while economic competitiveness generally refers to the ability of an economy to survive in a productivity contest with other economies.  The paper argues that that small states should assign major importance to resilience-building policies, in view of their high exposure to economic shocks, and to the enhancement of competitiveness, in view of high dependence on exports. The paper constructs an index of economic resilience across countries and shows that this is highly correlated with an index of competitiveness, also across countries, derived from the Global Competitiveness Indicators. Although the two indices are measured differently, the high correlation between them would seem to suggest that there is a factor that underpins them both, and this likely to be economic governance. Resilience building and competitiveness enhancement both call for appropriate policies based on strategic directions to improve economic governance. A major implication of this study is that, given that resilience and competitiveness are multifaceted, requiring economic, social, political and environmental policy measures, it would be beneficial for small states to embed these policy measures in their national development strategies and plans.

Comprehensive evaluation of the “Blue Economy” and the Island Economy
Xiaohui WANG, National Marine Data and Information Service, SOA, China

Subnational Island Jurisdictions, Entrepreneurship & Change: The Case of St. Martin
Dr. Léo-Paul DANA, Montpellier Business School, France, and Marie Curie Fellow, Princeton University, USA

In today’s global environment, island economies are impacted by domestic, national and regional/international events and dynamics (Baldacchino, 2015). Cultural issues and matters of jurisdiction can complicate matters. This paper examines the case of St. Martin, the smallest island shared by two governments; being an island comprised of two entire subnational island jurisdictions, it a clean case for comparison of mainland-island relations, with both parent states themselves members of the European Union. Since the Partition Treaty of 1648, St. Martin has been peacefully shared by France and the Netherlands, with French Saint Martin traditionally very dependent on decision-makers in Paris (Baldacchino and Dana, 2006) and since 2007 an overseas collectivité, in contrast to Dutch Sint Maarten that has long enjoyed relative autonomy, for example using the Netherlands Antillean guilder (florin) while its northern neighbour used the French franc and later the euro. Belonging to a power can offer benefits of “autonomy without sovereignty” such as aid-financed infrastructure and communications, higher-quality health and educational systems, and preferential trade – but also regulatory requirements that can impact entrepreneurship, economic development and social change. The case study of St. Martin can tell us about entrepreneurship on small islands in general and on subnational island jurisdictions in particular. This paper provokes thought and debate about related issues.

Concerns and Suggestions of Island Economic Development for Small Island Developing Nations
Mr. Yuchao YAN, Grandview Institution, China

Major concerns of island economic development for small island developing nations can be concluded as sustainable development and marine industry. For sustainable development, climate change and deficiencies of infrastructure and law have led to an worsen marine ecological environment, which has brought significant negative effects on island economic development. Currently, small island nations’ marine industry highly depend on their own marine nature resources, but lack of efficient financial aids and high quality projects to support infrastructure construction. Moreover, small island nations’ economic developments require a large amount of skilled and experienced technical personnel as well. Blue economy seems to be the perfect answer to fight against both challenges above for small island nations, but still requires think tank to better set plans and adjust measures to local conditions.

Building a measure of economic change for subnational island jurisdictions: Conceptual and empirical challenges
Dr. Jim RANDALL, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

The age of island independence in the latter half of the 20th century and the growing political presence of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the 21st century have allowed Island Studies scholars to develop and apply increasingly robust measures of economic change and development, from the Gross Domestic Product, to the Human Development Index, to Vulnerability and Resilience Indices (Briguglio 1995; 2009). Although the appropriateness and accuracy of these measures have been fiercely debated, they have proven beneficial to communicating the circumstances, capabilities, and trajectories of these islands, individually and as a group, to a wider world audience. Unfortunately and unintentionally, it has created an even greater information and understanding gap that further marginalizes those many other islands that are not independent nation-states.  These Subnational Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs) have experienced considerable economic success (e.g., Hong Kong, Cayman Islands), and may be larger (e.g., Greenland) or more populated (e.g., Hainan) than most nation-states (Baldacchino 2006; Stuart 2009). They also may be suffering from environmental challenges (e.g., Galapagos) or the impacts of climate change (e.g., Tokelau).  Some may be synonymous with our image of tourism utopias (e.g., Hawai’i, Gozo, Jeju, Balearic Islands), or are at the forefront of geopolitical attention (e.g., Guam). Although quite different when described anecdotally, they share a level of statistical opaqueness and apparent disorder that may be a function of their political association subsumed within a larger federal state.  The purpose of this paper is to introduce a conceptual and empirical framework, the latter built on available secondary sources of data, to systematically “draw back the curtain” on these subnational island jurisdictions. We will articulate what we can measure, the challenges to this statistical description, and posit an approach to improve this situation for future research and policy-making.


Keynote Address

Agricultural and Rural Issues on Islands in a period of global change
Dr. David BARKER, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

The challenges faced by agriculture and rural communities in small islands have entered a new era of vulnerability during the last 25 years as a result of the onset of global change – a range of external forces related to climate change and economic globalization. These transformative forces interact together in complex ways that have differential impacts on people, places, groups and institutions. Remarkably, even within a small island, such impacts vary significantly from place to place depending on local conditions. This can pose huge challenges for island planners with limited resources, especially in the field of agriculture and rural development. Double exposure provides a useful framework for examining how shocks and stresses associated with global change can create vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector at the island level, and within farming communities at the local level. In this paper, illustrations of the utility of such an approach are provided.  The examples relate to export agriculture and domestic small-scale farming in the Caribbean region at the national and local level. In rural communities, spatial patterns of household vulnerability and adaptive capacity are not uniform across a small island, so their identification is critical to rural development: one size does not fit all in formulating rural development policy.  Much of the current focus on adaptation to global change in tropical agriculture explores methods of strengthening resilience, particularly at the community level.


Session 3 – Local to Global Factors Influencing Island Economies

Connecting local and regional development strategies and structures with national and international opportunities and threats: Lessons from Newfoundland, Canada
Dr. Rob GREENWOOD, Leslie Harris Centre of Regional and Policy Development, Memorial University, Canada

Small island and remote jurisdictions are wrestling with the demands of sub-jurisdictional local and regional economic planning and development to build competitive advantage, foster cluster development, enhance human capital and tailor key infrastructure. Simultaneously, they need to navigate national and international market conditions, political frameworks and the diverse strategies of multinational corporations. Economic development strategies and concomitant governance structures need to combine this “looking in / looking out” capacity.

With a traditionally natural-resource dependent economy, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) has always been exposed to global commodity prices, externally controlled corporations, and imperial and national government decision making. Both the island of Newfoundland and the mainland section of the province, Labrador, are large geographical areas by international standards, with relatively small dispersed populations. The development of sub-provincial development strategies and regional and local governance capacity has been hindered by a Canadian constitution and political conventions which have resulted in a strong national government and relatively strong provincial governments. Decades of boom and bust based on global commodity prices, and vulnerability of the fishery to poor management and climate change, have led to on-going out-migration from the province to mainland Canada. Dropping fertility rates, an aging population and rural to urban migration have exacerbated social and political challenges.

Despite these challenges, NL governments have succeeded in maximizing benefits from oil and gas development, and an ocean technology cluster is being successfully established in the capital city region. Beyond the capital city region, however, regional strategies have not succeeded and other natural resources have failed to be developed in a manner which minimizes boom and bust. This presentation will highlight the successes and failures of NL and other island and remote jurisdictions in creating looking in / out capacity. Efforts to decentralize decision making, coordinating federal-provincial regulation of the fishery and oil and gas, and the role of the province’s only university will demonstrate key mechanisms for island and remote jurisdictions to effectively manage their governance capacity.

The impact of economic openness on the Hainan island economy
Dongni HE, Vice President, China Institute for Reform and Development, China

Aid and Sovereignty: Neostructuralism, Retroliberalism and the Recasting of Relationships in Oceania
Dr. John OVERTON and Dr. Murray WARWICK, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Science, Victoria University of Wellington (to be presented by Dr. Gerard PRINSEN)

International development assistance has undergone significant shifts in ideology, allocation and modes of delivery in the past fifty years. This paper examines aid in the Pacific Islands region since 2000 and what we identify as two particular paradigms of aid determined and shaped by the major metropolitan donors. From about 2000 and associated both with the Millennium Development Goals and the post 9/11 concern for failing states, there was a ‘neostructural’ period, focused on poverty alleviation and the rebuilding of state capacity. Then, following the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and with an eye on the example of Chinese aid, we have seen a ‘retroliberal’ approach to aid. This has involved much more overtly self-interested aid, with open support for donor economic interests, more of an interest in infrastructure and a retreat from long-term state-centred programmes, particularly in education and health. For the states and territories of the Pacific islands, we trace the volumes and direction of aid from 2000-2015. We see a neostructural interest in the more independent and larger states with apparently more pressing poverty and security concerns and a relative pull back from the smaller, better-off and more closely-associated territories. Since about 2008, however, retroliberalism has been associated with a turn back to dependent territories with significantly increased aid volumes, and a shift from state-centred programmes to support for the (donor) private sector and relative declines in aid in the larger Pacific recipient states. Finally, however, we suggest that aid relationships in Oceania have not simply been a matter of these top-down donor policy shifts. On the contrary, we suggest that many Pacific officials and politicians have proved adept at reading the signals in the changing donor environment, used their diverse sovereignty ‘resources’ strategically and acted effectively to negotiate new aid and development strategies.

Economic cooperation between China and Pacific island nations in the context of climate change
Dr. Zuocheng WANG, Faculty of Foreign Language and Foreign History, Liaocheng University, China


Session 4: Comparing the Economic Past, Present and Futures of Small Island States (SISs) and Subnational Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs)

Research on the development and problems of island economy in China
Ms. Jing WANG, National Marine Data and Information Service, SOA, China

The islands supply important support for the development of the marine economy and the expansion of development space. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, with the implementation of the maritime power strategy, the marine economy has developed rapidly. The academic community’s interest in the island economy has gradually increased because of its geographical fulcrum role. This paper analyzes the characteristics and connotation of island economy based on the current research of island economy both at home and abroad, and makes tentative definition of island economy. Based on the statistical data of 12 island counties in China, this paper summarizes the economic scale, economic level, industrial structure, marine industry development as well as their time and regional characteristics. The results show that in the past eight years, the GDP of 12 island counties has increased significantly and the growth rate is higher than that of the national economy. In 2014, the GDP of Putuo District was the largest while the Nan’ao County was the lowest. The highest per capita GDP was in Changdao County and the lowest was in Nan’ao County. During 2014-2016, the industrial structures of island counties present different characteristics. The overall trend is that the primary industry decreased while the second and third industry increased year by year. Based on the statistical results, the author summarizes the problems of island economy in order to provide reference for the future development. Finally, the paper puts forward the research direction combined with the actual work and practice.

Anarchy, hierarchy, or negarchy? Order and disorder amidst sovereign state and partially independent territory control
Dr. David REZVANI, Dartmouth College, USA

This paper will make use of Oliver Williamson’s theory of the firm as a metaphor to compare different conditions of international order that exist for sovereign states and partially independent territories.  These forms of international order include anarchy, hierarchy, and negarchy.  At the global level, relative degrees of anarchy prevail without a world government.  By contrast, at the domestic level, sovereign states have overcome aspects of international anarchy by imposing hierarchical order.  But in addition to anarchy and hierarchy, this paper will discuss the features of still another form of international order, negarchy, in which two partners (such as core states and partially independent territories) share some hierarchical powers over the relationship.  This paper will argue that partially independent territories under conditions of negarchy have substantial political and economic advantages as compared to the anarchical and hierarchical conditions that exist for sovereign states.

Industrial Structure Transition and Economic Growth of Hainan Province since Its Establishment
Dr. Desheng ZHANG, School of Economics and Management, Hainan University, China

Since it was established as a province, Hainan has maintained quick economic growth and has undergone tremendous change in its industrial structure. The industrial structure has transformed from the “primary, tertiary and secondary” to that of “tertiary, primary and secondary” and that of “tertiary, secondary and primary” . An empirical study on the interaction between local economic growth and industrial structure transformation reveals unidirectional Granger causality between them: the economic growth incites the adjustment in industrial structure, but not the other way around. Meanwhile, an analysis of the contribution of industrial structure to economic growth proves that tertiary industry in Hainan Province contributed the most to its economy, but its contribution rate is lower than its proportion in the industry structure. The current study predicts that the major economic engine lies in tertiary industry, which is encouraged and supported by Hainan Province according to its industrial policy, and the question is how to develop better quality. Some suggestions on optimizing and upgrading the industrial structure of Hainan Province are also provided.

Islanders crafting a new sovereignty: Five mechanisms and four ingredients
Dr. Gerard PRINSEN, Massey University, New Zealand

The continued relevance of the classic concept of state sovereignty has been questioned from diverse academic corners, particularly since the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. When it comes to real-life alternatives, one prominent alternative political praxis of sovereignty that emerged since then seems to be Indigenous sovereignty. This paper argues that another alternative political praxis also emerged since the 1990s, one that largely escaped the limelight: the sovereignty of non-self-governing islands, an Islandian sovereignty. Depending on what is defined as a “non-self-governing island” or a “sub-national island jurisdiction” (Baldacchino, Bartmann), there are between forty and over a hundred of these islands. One particular subset comprises forty-odd islands that are remnants of Europe’s colonial (settler) histories. Remarkably, the peoples of these islands refuse classic state sovereignty when voting in independence referendums. Instead, they seem to forge new forms of engagement, new relationships, with their metropoles.

This paper presents five common mechanisms that seem to shape the relationships between former colonial metropoles and their non-self-governing islands and it illustrates these mechanisms of Islandian sovereignty with examples from islands’ political praxis. As additional step, the paper explores four ingredients of Islandian sovereignty, using two questions. First, is an Islandian sovereignty more likely to be the result of history – a shared colonial experience – or of geography, the bounded location? The former would limit its relevance to the forty-odd islands that are colonial remnants. The latter would make it relevant for the more than hundred islands identified as sub-national island jurisdictions. As a second and associated question, the paper investigates how nationality (which islanders generally share with metropolitans) and identity (which often distinguishes islanders from metropolitans) may impinge on the crafting of Islandian sovereignty.

Small Is Beautiful?: A comparative study between island economies and sub-island economies in low-carbonization development
Xuedong WANG, Institute of Advanced International Studies, Sun Yat-Sen University, China