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Some Small Countries Do It Better: Rapid Growth and Its Causes in Singapore, Finland, and Ireland [Paperback]

by Shahid Yusuf, Kaoru Nabeshima
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

February 16, 2012 0821388460 978-0821388464 1

Countries worldwide are endeavoring to imitate the industrial prowess of the East Asian pacesetters. However, building a portfolio of tradable goods and services, and raising the levels of investment in these activities, has generally defied the best policy efforts. Bringing investment ratios on par with East Asian averages has proven to be particularly challenging.

The developmental experience of Singapore, Finland, and Ireland (Sifire) offers a different approach to rapid and sustained growth. The focus of these countries, rather than being tightly bound to investment, concentrates on building human capital in order to attract technology-intensive foreign direct investment and to enable domestic firms to compete in global markets for highvalue products and services. This recipe for rapid and sustained growth is well suited for the large number of small, resource-poor countries and of especial relevance in the competitive global environment of the 21st century.

The book provides a succinct and accessible analysis of growth that will be of particular interest to development practitioners and policy makers, as well as to academics and students.

Editorial Reviews


'This book should be read by all the peoples of small and resource-poor countries. The experiences of Singapore, Finland, and Ireland (Sifire) show that it is possible for such countries to overcome their limitations and achieve rapid and sustainable growth. I agree with the authors insights into how to replicate their success.' --Tommy Koh Ambassador-At-Large, Singapore

'Drawing on the intriguing similarities and differences among three high-growth economies at the turn of the millennium Singapore, Ireland, and Finland Yusuf and Nabeshima characterize productivity growth as being driven by not only high investment rates but also the interactions between a range of fundamental building blocks, in particular human capital and institutions. For the policy maker keen to avoid pitfalls in developing policy for promoting economic growth, there is much to be learned from the comprehensive picture the authors paint of these interactions.' --Patrick Honohan Governor, Central Bank of Ireland

Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: World Bank Publications; 1 edition (February 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821388460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821388464
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,785,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition
This excellent small book of just 169 pages provides a systematic analysis of evidence pertaining to a particular development path that a group of three small countries—Singapore, Finland and Ireland—followed. I read the book with special curiosity, not only due to a general interest in economic and social development, but because I was born and grew up in one of the countries, Finland, and wanted to know whether I would recognize my home country from their analysis. I can now confirm that I mostly did.

Collectively termed Sifire, they experienced strong growth and transformed their economies from middle-income countries to some of the richest in the world in the period since the mid-1980s. The authors’ premise is that: “The path followed by these three countries offers a different perspective on growth. Their approach may be of greater relevance than the well-worn East Asian model in the highly competitive global environment of the early 21st century because it does not necessarily assume heroic levels of investment” (p. 3). Moreover, they suggest that “it may be better tailored to the opportunities available to a heterogeneous group of middle- and lower-middle-income economies …, as well as to late-starting, low-income countries that, because of their youthful, rapidly increasing populations, need to grow at high single-digit rates to create enough jobs and to double per capita income in 10 years” (p. 3).

The authors provide a number of reasons for their focus on these particular three countries.
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