Blog Archive

Are levels of social welfare payment the problem or is it something else?

Posted on May 13, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
‘Why don’t they get a job?’  “Isn’t social welfare making people chose ‘leisure’ over ‘work’?” ‘Aren’t social payments in Ireland way above those in the UK and elsewhere?. Only a particular perspective and frame of mind among economists, politicians or commentators trigger these sorts of questions. The mentality is by no means confined to those who enjoy a comfortable …

The European project: where now?

Posted on May 05, 2017

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Much has been written, to date, about Brexit. Brexit – if it happens (it probably will but don’t bet on it) – will change everything. The exit of a major EU Member State with a population of just over 65 million or 13% of the total population of 510 million in the EU28 will be a major shock. The UK accounts for 16% of total EU Gross Domestic Product. The UK is embedded in a complex network …

The “Land of Ireland for the People of Ireland?”

Posted on April 28, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
First, there was a bonanza for land-owners in or near cities in the 1960s. Then there was the Kenny Report in 1973 (Kenny was a High Court judge who recommended pegging development land prices at 25% above agricultural land value – the recommendation has been ignored ever since). After that nothing much changed except that land prices went up and up.  After a property bubble there came, …

Are ‘Public Private Partnerships’ the only way to boost capital spending on infrastructure?

Posted on April 21, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) were much in vogue across Europe for many years especially prior to the Great Recession of 2008-2012. The essential idea behind PPPs is that the State commissions a private company to undertake some or all of the following: part-fund, design, build, operate and maintain a facility (it could be a motorway, a school, a hospital, a social housing scheme, etc).  …

The productivity problem - We need to invest

Posted on April 21, 2017 by Tom McDonnell

Unoccupied Industry
For most economists the sources of productivity, innovation and technological progress are almost co-extensive with the central question of economics - what is the source of the wealth of nations? Unfortunately productivity growth has been on a generally downward in the advanced economies for close on 40 years. A recent blog on the Focus Economics website shows clearly this downward trend in …

Posted in: IncomeInvestment

Rebooting and rethinking manufacturing

Posted on April 08, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Time was when a patch sown on to the elbow was not a fashion statement but a timely and thrifty measure to prolong the use of a jacket or jumper. ‘Circular economy’ might be set to become the new buzzword but it is not a new idea.  The discipline of economics (I much prefer the more honest descriptor ‘political economy’) is about choice, finite resources, needs –  and values.  We …

5th Annual NERI Labour Market Conference - Extension of deadline for submissions

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Louisa O'Brien

Maynooth University
The fifth Annual NERI Labour Market Conference will be held on Friday 12th May in association with Maynooth University's Department of Applied Social Science , the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting and the Department of Sociology . The conference will run from 10:00 - 16:00 and will include research papers on various aspects of the Irish labour market and Irish labour market policy. …

Posted in: GenderIncomeLabour costsWages

Outlook for the Irish Economy: Trends, Projections and Storm Clouds

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Tom McDonnell

Social Housing Ireland
Trends In recent years Ireland’s headline national accounts have become increasingly distorted by multinational activity. Indeed the distortion is now so pronounced that it has become difficult to interpret Ireland’s economic performance and cyclical position using aggregate indicators. Even so, it is clear that the real economy has been growing strongly despite Brexit related headwinds and …

Posted in: Macroeconomics

A bridge to a new deal

Posted on March 25, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Last week, the NERI published its 21st edition of the NERI Quarterly Economic Observer. Since its first edition and foundation as a trade union associated Institute this day five years ago, the 27th March 2012, (QEO Spring 2012) we have continued to make the case for an enhanced programme of investment in economic and social infrastructure. Following a welcome recovery in economic activity and in …

Are women workers in the public sector paid too much?

Posted on March 19, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Yes, you read that question correctly. I will seek an answer to this question at the end of this blog.  But for now, judging by the standard reaction to data on earnings when published by the Central Statistics Office, many commentators are very set on the idea that public sector workers are paid far more than their counterparts in the private sector. This is the only story we get to hear …

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