Regional inequalities in socio-economic development in Tonga: A preliminary study
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This study is a preliminary investigation of regional inequalities in socio-economic development in Tonga. Its main aim is to examine, and as far as possible explain, the regional variations in development among the three main island groups of the Kingdom. The household is the unit for which various indices of socio-economic development are devised and compared. Thus the study looks at regional inequalities from the micro or “grass roots” level rather than from the more common approach through aggregate measures at the regional level. A number of components of household level of living were selected for detailed analyses. These analyses showed that considerable inequalities do exist. The study also revealed that recent socio-economic development in Tonga has tended to concentrate where most progress has already taken place. A number of problems were shown to have originated from regional inequalities. The overall implication is that the tendency towards polarisation of development will, by the process of circular and cumulative causation, persist, and may even increase, unless deliberate measures are taken by the Government to spread the efforts at, and the benefits of, development in a more equitable manner into the less developed regions.