2013 - a busy year for the NERI

Posted on December 29, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

This month brings to a close a very busy year for the newly established Nevin Economic Research Institute. The NERI has begun to contribute to a much needed and long-overdue debate on policy evidence and policy choices in key areas of relevance to the trade union movement and wider society - labour market trends, public services, investment and wages.  Together with other researchers and thinktanks we have added our voice and research insights in many areas including the following by way of example:

Investment in infrastructure where colleague Paul MacFlynn explored the options for additonal investment in Northern Ireland to tackle infrastural deficits and high unemployment. He emphasised the potential for investment in retro-fitting of buildings with high local multiplier impacts.

Public expenditure and revenue where colleague Rory O'Farrell reported on the mulitiplier impacts of tax increases and spending cuts using data from macro-economic modelling. He concluded that 'themost effective methods of closing the deficit are through increases in capital taxes, the effective rate of corporation tax, and indirect tax. The least effective methodsarecuts to public investment and to public sector wages'

The distribution of direct and indirect taxes where colleague Micheál Collins together with Dara Turnbull reported a 'U-shaped' curve with the poorest and richest households contributing the most as a % of income - challenging the idea that taxes overall are strongly progressive.

The options for addressing banking debts by myself prior to the conclusion of an agreement in regards to the debt of the former Anglo-Irish Bank in February 2013.

Staff of the Institute prepared papers, presentations, blogs and other research outputs in a wide range of areas from minimum income standards, tax reform, wages and competitiveness, unemployment, early childhood education and care, financial transactions tax to public finances to banking.  Earlier this month the NERI produced its 8th edition of Quarterly Economic Observer which has now become a very regular and often-quoted commentary and current policy focus report of the NERI. In addition, the Quarterly Economic Facts provides a wide range of data in a timely and accessible way to inform public debate and analysis. NERI staff are also regular contrirbutors to TV, Radio, Print and Internet media in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The very popular NERI InBrief Research Series provides a regular series of topical and accessible research notes.

The regular NERI seminars in Dublin and in Belfast provides an opportunity for people to hear presentations by NERI and other researchers.

2013 saw two significant external contributions by Tom McDonnell on options for a Wealth Tax and by Vic Duggan on Investment and how to increase it.

We were honoured this year to hear President Michael D. Higgins give the inaugural Dónal Nevin lecture in May. He said:

"And on an occasion such as this if I may be permitted to conclude with some wishes for the future of the Institute; wishes that go beyond the influence I know it will have and the good it will do; my wish is that it be rooted in grounded theory, be multi-disciplinary and that it locate its theory in the culture and moral instincts of those with emancipatory intent in scholarship"

The NERI is grateful for the continuing support and interest shown by many. We look forward to continuing our work in 2014 and building on our success to date.  Athbhliain Nua agus faoi mhaise daoibh go léir and a Happy New year to all!

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