Small States in the Modern World
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Small States in the Modern World

Vulnerabilities and Opportunities

Edited by Harald Baldersheim and Michael Keating

Small States in the Modern World comprehensively assesses the different modes of adaptation by small states in response to the security and economic vulnerabilities posed by global change. It uses a diverse collection of case studies to explore the complexities of change and to place them in their temporal and geographical context.
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Chapter 6: Political mechanics of smallness: the Baltic states as small states in the European Parliament

Allan Sikk and Licia Cianetti


The impact of state size on macroeconomics, political economy and international politics is well established in academic literature. When it comes to domestic politics, the received wisdom is that nearly all contemporary democracies are too big to benefit from the advantages assigned to small political communities, following the conclusion from Dahl and Tufte’s seminal Size and Democracy (1973). However, there is evidence on the impact of country size on the size of parliaments, democratic endurance, civil conflict, electoral turnout and party membership levels. Still, much of the research is exploratory in nature, and the mechanisms by which state size affects political variables remain understudied. Anckar (2002) is among the few to break the mould, as he argues that smaller country size means smaller distances between elites and citizens and, as a result, interest articulation is filtered through fewer intervening structures and agents. This chapter analyses the working of such intermediate institutions in the Baltic states. More specifically, we look at the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by analysing patterns of representation in the committees and political groups of the European Parliament and on national party boards.

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