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The MIRAB Model Twelve Years On

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Title:The MIRAB Model Twelve Years On
Authors:Bertram, Geoff
LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals.
Date Issued:1999
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:Bertram, G. 1999. The MIRAB Model Twelve Years On. The Contemporary Pacific 11 (1): 105-38.
Abstract:Developed in the mid 1980s to explain economic processes in New Zealand’s
sphere of influence in the Pacific islands, the mirab model has proved applicable
across a wide range of island economies. Identifying features of a mirab economy
are heavy reliance on transfer payments, including repatriated factor incomes,
to finance current expenditure; a migration process that disperses the members of
ethnic groups across geographical space while retaining the organic unity of
families and communities; and a consequent transnationalization of the society’s
economic activity whenever external niches of economic opportunity become
accessible. Production of tradable goods is marginalized by the operation of
market forces in the absence of regulation, and policies to promote tradable-led
development have little application. The paper presents macroeconomic data to
illustrate three stylized facts for mirab economies: persistent gaps between
national expenditure and gross domestic product, a combination of large trade
deficits with balanced current accounts (and hence limited debt accumulation),
and the long-run stability of per capita aid flows. Some country-specific variations
on the basic mirab model in the recent literature are reviewed, along with
some recent economic literature on the microeconomics of transnational networks
of kin and community.
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1999 - Volume 11, Number 1

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