Introduction: The MIRAB model in the twenty-first century
The papers collected in this volume were originally presented at a conference in February 2004, on the theme ‘Beyond MIRAB: The Political Economy of Small Islands in the Twenty-First Century’. Several of the papers in the collection point towards the emergence of a new three-way taxonomy of small-island socioeconomic formations, comprising MIRAB, PROFIT and SITE ideal-types. The key economic flows in the first are remittances and aid; in the second, jurisdictionally-related flows such as tax-haven and money-laundering transactions; and in the third, tourism revenues. All three ideal-types correspond to potentially sustainable temporary equilibria, but in all cases the existing set-up is path-dependent, and subject to regime switch if disturbed. Conceptualisation of the small-island world as a field of multiple equilibria and path dependence points to the future importance of event studies by island researchers. The collection includes also new research on the theory of remittances, and case studies of the MIRAB process and the transnational migrant diaspora.