A Microstate with Scale Economies: The Case of Iceland
University of Iceland, Institute of Economic Studies Working Paper No. W02:10
29 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2003
Date Written: December 2002
This paper looks at the importance of scale economies - defined in terms of the benefits from innovation - from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. We argue that one can only gauge the degree of scale economies at the industry level by taking account of the degree of specialization - hence the reliance on international trade - as well as the size of an economy. We show that in Iceland specialization in fishing results in a sector which ranks 13th in the world, hence belying the small size of the population and the overall economy. Not surprisingly, the bulk of R&D in Iceland is focused on providing this industry with an ever-expanding range of inputs, resulting in a high rate of growth of GDP - as well as a high standard of living in the country as a whole - in comparison with other OECD economies.
Keywords: Economies of scale, R&D, Icelandic economic history
JEL Classification: Q2, Q3, O1
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