Blog Archive

Interest Rates: Don't move too soon

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Paul Mac Flynn

Interest rates have been making the headlines in recent weeks, as speculation mounts about a possible change in policy this Thursday. In the UK the Bank of England base rate has been at an all-time low for almost 10 years. Monetary policy has been very loose since the Great Financial Crash of 2008, not only in the UK but around the world. Low interest rates were also supplemented by a process of …

Posted in: Northern Ireland Wages

Halloween, plastic-eating chicks and the circular economy

Posted on October 27, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
“By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, entangling sea creatures and trapping them, mimicking their food, and releasing toxins that poison them: marine turtles feed on plastic bags because they float in the ocean like jellyfish. Alabtrosses, those vast ocean-going birds, are bringing belly-fulls of plastic instead of squid back to their nests to feed their chicks. The …

Slides from NERI Post Budget Seminar - 18 October, 2017

Posted on October 26, 2017 by Louisa O'Brien

NERI Post Budget Seminar - 18 October, 2017
Slides from NERI Post Budget Seminar held in the INTO Learning Centre on 18th October.  The three speakers each made a brief presentation responding to aspects of Budget 2018.  The presentations were delivered by Marie Sherlock (SIPTU), Michelle Murphy (Social Justice Ireland) and John FitzGerald (formally of ESRI). Above presentation by Marie Sherlock (SIPTU) Above presentation by Michelle …

Ophelia, Kondratiev and Monday Mornings

Posted on October 20, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Last Monday morning, I looked out the window and it was calm and sunny in the part of Ireland where I was. ‘What storm’? I mumbled.  A few hours later made all the difference. Economists are very good at explaining what happened. Lots of econometrics and fitted regression lines work wonders. We are less good at predicting what is going to happen and when. Weather forecasters can make good …

Much ado about little

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The draft budget for 2018 to be yet approved by the European Commission has arrived. Still, some working out of detail in the Finance Act and various other legal measures remains.  The build-up, the leaks, the drama, the instant analysis, the soundbites and the slowly emerging aftermath is part of the annual cycle of media news and lobbying by various interest groups.  Thankfully, recent years …

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.  …

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