Social Policies in Malta

image of Social Policies in Malta

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.



The Political and Economic Environment Pre and PostIndependence

This section presents the vicissitudes of Malta’s economic and political history from the period before its independence from Britain in the early 1960s to its recent accession to European Union (EU) membership in 2004. It attempts to explain breaks in trends and to discover the inherent characteristics that have shaped the island’s policies over the years. During its difficult years, Malta has also had to deal with the characteristics of a small island developing state, which make it more vulnerable than bigger countries. (For a more extensive analysis of the vulnerability of SIDS and how deliberate economic development policies can provide resilience, see Briguglio (2003).) The section is divided into two parts: the first presents the political background, while the second provides data on economic variables (gross national product (GDP), economic growth and trade) and the economic strategies adopted by the country since 1959.


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