Social Policies in Malta

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The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Malta is a highincome developed small state, with an impressive level of economic growth and a multitude of social services, which have helped to provide free health and education to all its citizens and benefits to lowincome earners. However, various national and global factors are now threatening the sustainability of this extensive social security model. This paper examines the economic, political and social development of the island, particularly since independence, highlighting the successes and failures of the social development strategies adopted and suggesting how these lessons can inform future policy decisions.



Crisiscoping Strategies

In every decade in the history of a country there is some significant event that impinges on its socio-economic environment. For a small state, these normally emanate from the international sphere. Thus for Malta the 1960s meant a transformation of the economy due to the British decision to decolonise; the 1970s were hit by big price hikes in commodities and fuel; the 1980s saw a slow-down, turbulence and uncertainty in global economic activity; the 1990s witnessed sluggish growth in Europe, international financial crises and the information technology revolution; and the twenty-first century is increasingly volatile with harsher global competitive forces, new price fluctuations in fuel and certain commodities, and a wave of recession which may yet offer some surprises.


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