Complexity in Small Island Developing States

Published on 27 May 2014

This paper highlights some of the possible factors involved in applying ideas from complexity theory to reforming public service and tackling related development problems in small countries, and especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

It explores whether such core attributes as the degree of smallness and/or the nature of ‘islandness’ create specific characteristics of the state that may simplify coordination across government, or make the problems that a public service faces no different, or different but no less complex than in other contexts. It concludes that better planning and foresight capabilities, rooted in effective political economy analysis, may be needed

This paper was prepared for a conference held in Singapore on 29 April 2014 which considered the value of ‘complexity-aware’ approaches to improving public service in SIDS. The conference was organised in collaboration with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

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