Blog Archive

What use is economics?

Posted on October 06, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
‘Economics’ is often viewed as a ‘positive science’ that examines choices in a world of constrained resources.  One only has so much time or money or capital (including human).  There are so many choices and needs.  The ‘science’ of economics, it is claimed, involves optimising outcomes or well-being by making the most efficient use and allocation of resources.  The notion of …

Needed: A Budget for the many and not just the few

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Much progress has been made in regards to the state of Irish public finances, due in large part, to the recovery in economic activity in recent times. Taxes are flowing under many headings as unemployment continues to inch downwards and there is a broad-based recovery. Yet, many people are scarcely feeling a positive bounce in their discretionary spend. Though wages have been on the rise for most …

Job insecurity is not a necessary trade-off to job flexibility

Posted on September 25, 2017 by Lisa Wilson

In the Autumn of 2016 Prime Minister Theresa May commissioned Matthew Taylor to undertake a review to consider how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models. One of the central aims of the review was to consider the extent that emerging business practices put pressure on the ‘trade-off between flexible labour and benefits such as higher pay or greater …

Posted in: IncomeJobsLiving wageNorthern Ireland Wages

Notes on the margins of the Dublin Economics Workshop

Posted on September 25, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Last weekend marked the 40th anniversary of the Dublin Economics Workshop.  The annual event – usually held in the Autumn – is a significant one as it attracts a considerable number of professional economists: academic, sectoral, financial, civil service and freelance. The event is, also, open to others and the conference is typically well covered in the Irish media.  In recent years, the …

How fast is the economy really growing and does it matter for fiscal space?

Posted on September 15, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
It all depends.  The last annual set of national accounts were published in July by the CSO. As expected, these show a significant divergence between GDP and what the CSO now term GNI*.  GNI* excludes globalisation effects that are disproportionately impacting the measurement of the size of the Irish economy.  The CSO reported GDP at €276 billion in 2016 while GNI* came to €189 billion.  …

As the housing emergency worsens it is still time for a game changer

Posted on September 09, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Six months ago the NERI published a working paper entitled: Ireland’s Housing Emergency: Time for a game changer. Regrettably, but not surprisingly, the depth and scale of the housing emergency has increased over the summer months. While much publicity has focussed on homelessness (as measured by families in temporary accommodation) another crisis is developing in relation to affordability for …

The Absence of Devolution - The Economic Costs

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Paul Mac Flynn

As the deadline of the 29th of June passed without the establishment of a new Executive, it looks as though Northern Ireland may be in for a long period with no devolved government. Quite how long this interregnum will last is in the realm of political speculation, but it does have important implications for our economy. Much has been made of the fact that, as a consequence of the failure to form …

Posted in: Government SpendingNorthern Ireland

Exploring the outer regions of hidden fiscal space

Posted on July 14, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The 2017 Summer Economic Statement appeared last week.  The Statement follows a seasonal pattern along with the Spring Economic Statement and, ultimately, Budget 2018 due to be presented to the Dáil in October and approved by the European Commission on behalf of the EU28. The debate, such as it is, in the run up to Budget 2018 in Ireland follows familiar patterns each year: Some commentators …

Slides from NERI Seminar: Welfare and Activation for Partners: Challenges for Irish Policy

Posted on July 13, 2017 by Louisa O'Brien

Slides from NERI Seminar on 'Welfare and Activation for Partners: Challenges for Irish Policy', presentation by Dr Mary P Murphy (Maynooth University) & Dr Anne-Marie McGauran (NESC) on 12th July, 2017.

Reclaiming the debate on enterprise

Posted on July 07, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The key to a flourishing society is an economy that works for all people and not just the few.  And the key to an economy that works for all is democracy in the workplace and in the political institutions that govern the market. [This is the text of a speech I gave at the 2017 Biennial Delegate Conference of the ICTU on 5th July 2017.) Too often, we see whole communities, families and workers …

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