Fact of the Week: under employment in the Republic of Ireland

Posted on October 28, 2014 by Daragh McCarthy

Fact of the Week: Under employment

People classified as part-time underemployed are those who wish to work full-time, but cannot find a full-time job. Underemployment statistics touch on both the quality and quantity of work available to a sizable cohort in the labour market. In a sense, underemployment refers to a situation where an individual decides having some job—be it low skilled, poorly paid or with few guaranteed hours—is better than having no job. They take up employment, but remain actively seeking new job opportunities. Currently, there are 129,700 people classified as underemployed by the CSO.

Number of people underemployment and unemployment in Ireland ('000s), 2008—2014

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Posted in: Jobs

Budget 2015: another regressive budget

Posted on October 24, 2014

Tom Healy, Director NERI

Recently the Government in the Republic of Ireland unveiled its budget for the year 2015.  By European law the Budget is subject to approval  by the European Commission. Unlike a number of other European Union Member States it seems highly likely that the Budget will be approved. In the normal flow of events a Finance Bill will be enacted by the parliament or Dáil in Dublin before the end of this year.

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Posted in: Government SpendingInequalityInvestmentTaxation

NERI Post Budget Seminar

Posted on October 23, 2014

Post Budget Seminar 2015

The October NERI seminar took place yesterday afternoon in the INTO Learning Centre. Michelle Murphy (Social Justice Ireland), Cormac Staunton (TASC) and Michael Taft (UNITE) provided on overview of the impact of the Budget 2015 with a focus on changes to system of income tax and the prospects for economic growth and employment over the coming years. 

Response to Budget 2015

The NERI seminar series aims to provide a forum for the presentation of research on topics of relevance to Irish public policy (North and South). The seminars take the format of 40 minute presentation followed by a questions and answers. The series will continue through to July 2015. See the Events page for detail on upcoming seminars

Posted in: Government SpendingIncomeInvestmentMacroeconomics

Thinking aloud about goods and services in the public domain

Posted on October 19, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

‘Economics’ has been defined as a ‘science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses’ (Lionel Robbins).  While I have difficulty with an understanding which regards economics as a ‘science’ (scientific methods may be used but, surely, that does not make ‘economics’ a science), the notion of scarcity, choice and desired ends cuts across all public debates on how we should organise production and consumption of the earth’s resources. 

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Income Taxation and Budget 2015

Posted on October 17, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Budget 2015 (Public investment in social housing)

Judged from an income taxation perspective, Budget 2015 was reminiscent of Budgets of ten years ago, or more - maybe a worrying starting point! Cuts to income taxes dominated the announcements, and policy implementation within the Budget. This was at the cost of other priorities, including securing a more stable basis for growth and recovery in the years to come.

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Posted in: IncomeLiving wageMacroeconomicsTaxationWages

Overview of Budget 2015

Posted on October 16, 2014 by Tom McDonnell

Tom McDonnell profile

There are some positive elements to the Budget but overall it represents a major missed opportunity.

The economics behind Budget 2015 are shaky to say the least. An expansionary budget based on tax cuts for the better off fails the economic best practice test and also fails the equity test. The Budget 2015 tax changes are regressive with single earners on €70,000 benefiting by four times as much as minimum wage earners from the direct tax changes. Taking into account the water charges the ESRI have confirmed that poorer households will lose out from Budget 2015 while richer households will gain.

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Posted in: Government SpendingMacroeconomicsTaxation

Budget 2015 and Public Investment in Social Housing

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Daragh McCarthy


There are over 90,000 people on the waiting list for social housing.  This level of demand for a basic need required a substantial investment in housing, and, in this regard, Budget 2015 was a significant first step. The headline investment of €2.2 billion over the coming three years to provide 10,000 social housing units will make a difference.

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Posted in: Government SpendingInvestmentJobs

The Shifts and the Shocks

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

My review of Martin Wolf's book, The Shifts and the Shocks, was published recently in the Irish Times. The book provides a timely and serious analysis of the global situation and outlines some pointers about what needs to happen next if we are not to be condemned to permanent stagnation. Read the full review here

Posted in: Macroeconomics

Water charges: affordability and distribution of cost.

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Tom McDonnell

Tom McDonnell profile

User based water charges went live on the 1st of October. Consumption charges are regressive, impact disproportionately on low income households and the introduction of user based water charges raises significant affordability issues. The current system of free allowances is expensive, poorly targeted (with subsidies for richer households) and economically inefficient. In the accompanying NERI inBrief I briefly describe two alternative models. These are a water credit model to prevent water poverty, and a zero free allowance model to generate a more progressive distribution of the cost of water service provision while maintaining the user pays principle.

In an NERI inBrief entitled 'Water Charges, Water Poverty and Water Credits' I discuss one aspect of the new regime: affordability and distribution of cost.

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Posted in: IncomeInequality

Deprivation Trends Highlight Living Standards Impact of Recession

Posted on October 08, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Indicator 5.1 in the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts document tracks trends in poverty and deprivation in the Republic of Ireland from 2004 to 2012 – the latest year where data is available. Overall it reflects a decrease in poverty levels to 2009 before these began to increase again as the recent economic crisis took hold.

Data on deprivation offers a further insight into these recent trends. It measures the proportion of the population who are unable to afford any of eleven basic items. The items range from two pairs of strong shoes, to a warm waterproof coat, to the ability to replace worn out furniture.

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Posted in: IncomeInequality

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