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Economics: institutions, borders, norms and sentiments do matter

Posted on February 03, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
There are only five ways to avoid a further hardening of the border on the island of Ireland: The United Kingdom does not leave the EU – after all. A united Ireland within the UK and outside the EU is agreed. A united Ireland outside the UK and within the EU is agreed. The EU breaks up and/or there is an Irexit in which case Ireland and the UK are free to negotiate whatever bilateral …

Innovation Inputs, How does the Republic of Ireland Compare?

Posted on February 01, 2017 by Tom McDonnell

Lego bricks
The Republic of Ireland’s industrial and enterprise strategies will have to evolve in the future to adjust to changing political, economic and technological realities. One constructive step that the Irish government can take to future proof its economy is to renew its focus on innovation policy with a view to building a world class innovation system. Technological change and innovation have …

Posted in: Government SpendingInvestment

Are special purpose vehicles a good idea?

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is a general technical term that covers a multitude. It refers to a wide variety of arrangements whereby a financial entity is established for a ‘special purpose’ as the title suggests.  The National Asset Management Agency is a type of SPV set up to buy distressed assets from bust banks and seek to work off these loans over time and recoup some of the loss for …

Productivity and Innovation are the only things that can drive Long-run Growth

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Tom McDonnell

Puzzle
The world is changing and Ireland’s industrial and enterprise strategies will have to evolve if we wish to thrive in this new reality. One constructive step that the Irish government can take is to renew its focus on innovation policy with a view to building a world class National System of Innovation. Technological change and innovation have long been of fundamental interest to economists …

Posted in: Government SpendingInvestment

Costs and benefits – in hindsight

Posted on January 22, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
A saying from Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde has sometimes been applied to economists. It runs as follows: ‘A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’  Now, the context for the quotation is a question posed by a Cecil Graham: ‘What is a cynic?’ to which a Lord Darlington replies: ‘A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’ …

Housing: no surprises

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
  // It is now generally accepted that the Republic of Ireland has a ‘housing crisis’. Though the causes are many and interlinked it would be astonishing to deny the obvious: not enough houses have been built in recent times at the right price in the right places for the right people. Result: escalating homelessness, escalating non-affordability and escalating rents. The housing crisis is …

Challenges for workers in 2017

Posted on January 06, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
By now many a new year resolution has been ‘postponed’ until the days get a little longer!  What immediate challenges arise for workers in Ireland in 2017?  These are about the staple bread and butter issues of (i) Wages, (ii) Jobs .......and not forgetting pensions! Wages Wages have been remarkably flat over an eight-year period with the exception of the high-tech sector and certain …

The gate of the year

Posted on December 22, 2016

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The words of a famous poem are occasionally invoked at the beginning of a new year. 2017 seems as good a year as any to use them:  “I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’” This time last year there were three things, two of which we knew were possible, and one of which was not even considered as a possibility. The …

An Irish Wealth Tax

Posted on December 21, 2016 by Tom McDonnell

Scrooge McDuck
2017 promises to be a year of change with Brexit and Trumponomics gathering pace with diffcult to predict outcomes. One thing remaining constant is that the fiscal space available for Budget 2018 will remain tight and that discretion for current and capital spending increases and tax cuts will be limited. The fiscal council estimate that the carry-over cost of measures introduced in Budget 2017 …

Posted in: InequalityTaxation

Searching for the economic holy grail

Posted on December 16, 2016

Tom Healy, Director NERI
What’s wrong with GDP?  GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is in the news every day.  Analysts, commentators, politicians, journalists and others parse GDP to the first decimal place and grant due reverence to this most solemn of indicators.  Then, in recent years the spurious accuracy shown by the forecasting industry took a serious battering.  You should be careful about what can happen over …

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