Sociocultural Issues and Economic Development in the Pacific Islands

Publication | January 1996

Pacific island countries are generally high-cost economies. Wages are well in excess of productivity; at the same time, the purchasing power of wages in the Pacific is low, reflecting the impact of transport costs and small markets.

Massive levels of overseas emigration from countries such as Tonga, Samoa, and Cook Islands, and rapid rates of rural-to-urban migration in other Pacific island countries demonstrate a widespread dissatisfaction with rural living conditions and services. The level of political development and the lack of institutional capacity have posed obstacles to the pursuit of clear and consistent policies and the establishment of effective public information and accountability.