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NERI Blog

'These truths we hold to be self-evident...'

Posted on April 25, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

‘These things we hold to be self-evident …. ‘ is a line taken from the 1776 USA Declaration of Independence.  Given the emerging debate  - such as it is – in the Republic of Ireland on matters to do with taxation, social spending and related areas it would seem that the following ten canonical statements are universally believed in, rarely contested and frequently asserted:

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Posted in: Government SpendingIncomeInequalityInvestmentJobsLabour costsMacroeconomicsTaxationWages

Still a high income country – despite the recession

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Micheál Collins

Micheal Collins profile

Indicator 4.1 from the NERI’s latest Quarterly Economics Facts (QEF) document shows that despite the elongated economic crisis, the Republic of Ireland’s income per capita remains high. The latest data, for 2013, show that Ireland’s average income of €35,600 is the sixth highest in the EU. The figure is calculated by dividing GDP by the population. Looked at over time, the figures for the Republic of Ireland in 2013 are similar to those recorded in 2004/2005 - a few years before the economic peak and subsequent crash.

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Posted in: IncomeInequalityMacroeconomics

Triangulating pay, taxes and the 'social wage'

Posted on April 18, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

[The following is an extract from a speech given recently at the Annual Delegate Conference of the Public Service Executive Union - PSEU]   It is urgent that evidence is brought to bear on important political and social debates. It is also important that those issues and questions that are neglected are given attention. The NERI is involved at a number of areas of research:

-       Day-to-day and year-to-year commentary, analysis and suggestions

-       Developing a longterm vision of where Irish society and economy could be heading and what sort of industrial, social and political-economy strategy is required to bring this about.

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NERI Seminar: Examining the Net Wealth of Irish Households

Posted on April 16, 2015 by Daragh McCarthy

The latest NERI seminar took place on Wednesday 22 April 2015. Dr Reamonn Lydon, Central Bank of Ireland, presented research based on a novel dataset on households’ income, assets and debts in Ireland: the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS). The HFCS is an invaluable resource for policy makers, allowing for household-level analysis of the composition of wealth and debt, leverage and the debt-service burden.

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Posted in: InequalityMacroeconomics

Northern Ireland has taken greatest hit on living standards

Posted on April 11, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

A key issue in the run-up to the UK General Election has been changes in living standards. While economics is not everything in the universe, the level and change in living standards is a very important factor in shaping the climate of public opinion. Not just the level and change in living standards but the understandings about what happened and why and expectations about what should happen in the future. In short, at the risk of over-simplifying matters, ‘economics’ tends to view who gets what and why while ‘politics’ tends towards who should get what. Putting the two together is not easy but essential not only in interpreting the world but changing it.

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NERI Seminar: A Future Worth Working For

Posted on April 09, 2015 by Daragh McCarthy

Yesterday's seminar given by the Director of the NERI, Tom Healy, focused on setting the parameters for a clear, long-term vision for the Irish economy to emerge. The seminar is based on a recent working paper that argues this vision must be based on concrete goals that can be observed, measured and contrasted—as opposed to pious aspirations. The paper is not intended as a blueprint or model that is to be rolled out, but as a contribution to a debate on our economic future.

Over the course of the presentation, Dr Healy reviewed the key economic and social challenges facing the island of Ireland in the coming three decades and suggests an overarching framework to better understand:

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Posted in: InequalityInvestmentJobsTaxationWages

Education at the cutting edge of a new vision

Posted on April 04, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

[Text of address to be given at Irish National Teachers Organisation Annual Conference in Ennis, Co Clare, on 6 April 2015]

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TTIP - the best thing since the invention of sliced pan bread?

Posted on March 29, 2015 by Tom Healy

Sliced Bread

There is widespread official support for the Transatlantic Trade, Investment Partnership (TTIP) across European member states – especially in the Republic of Ireland where the level of enthusiasm and zeal for promoting TTIP exceeds that of other member states. TTIP is seen as a saving grace to pull the European economy forward especially in the context of public spending constraints. (See a recent interview with, Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner here).  The claim is that TTIP will release growth, trade and higher incomes and employment – especially in Ireland given its close investment and trade links to the US as well as the opportunities for particular sectors and firms to take advantage of greater access to US markets. Last Friday was the occasion of a launch of TTIP impact in Ireland – a study by Copenhagen Economics (CE) commissioned by the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. It was accompanied by a very upbeat assessment of prospects for Irish export trade and the spillovers in the local economy.  On the other side of the debate are a number of civil society, citizen and environmental groups across Europe including many trade union confederations that have come out against TTIP and demand that it be at least suspended if not entirely scrapped. The matter is of key importance to European and American citizens and workers and deserves careful consideration.

TTIP is not like previous free trade agreements for a number of reasons:

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We never had it so good?

Posted on March 21, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

Some years ago, during the Roaring Celtic Tiger period, I had occasion to attend a conference which treated the idea and measurement of Human Well-Being. Speaking to a former Taoiseach who had just joined the proceedings, I informed him that the participants were not entirely sure if life was getting better or worse. He responded by declaring: ‘It’s both’. Hint: he was an economist. 

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It's all about choices

Posted on March 14, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

With a general election in the Republic of Ireland looming sometime between now and this time next year it is timely to consider what choices and policy options are appropriate. The Nevin Economic Research Institute is not associated with any political party or platform. Our job is to undertake economic research informed by the evidence. However, we are interested in how economic policy will evolve in the coming years and how it can contribute to a different vision and model for Ireland in the long-term. To that end, this blog offers some ideas, questions and suggestions – written as always in a personal capacity - in regards to how a new Government or programme of government could be shaped in a way that moves this part of Ireland in the correct direction (I almost wrote ‘right direction’!). It focuses on economic issues only. 

Many of the suggestions are general in nature but sufficiently focused as to identify the main outlines of a possible ‘left alternative’ policy approach. Irish politics is reflecting European developments. Old allegiances are breaking down and new movements and parties are emerging across Europe (and not always in a desirable way).

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