The country case studies and thematic papers in this series, published jointly by UNRISD and the Commonwealth Secretariat, examine social policy issues facing small states and their 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 high-income 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 low-income 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.
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