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Posts from "Tom Healy"

Tom Healy

Tom Healy is Director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI). Tom has previously worked in the Economic and Social Research Institute, the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the National Economic and Social Forum and the Department of Education and Skills.

He holds a PhD (economics and sociology) from UCD. His research interests have included the impact of education and social capital on well-being, social vision and economic strategy for the island of Ireland, Education, Housing and Health.

The Living Wage in the Republic of Ireland

Posted on June 16, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
I was recently talking with an economist from Austria about the Living Wage.  He did not readily understand the term as, in many European countries, the notion of a living wage gives way to one or both things: (1) collective bargaining which sets wages pretty much for all workers in all sectors, and (2) a statutory minimum wage coupled with relatively generous (relative, that is, to Ireland the …

Life is based on many assumptions (until they prove false)

Posted on June 09, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Economists are no more equipped than others to predict the future. That’s because economies are embedded in societies, institutions and human relationships. These work to confound the simplest assumptions and most refined of econometrical modelling.  While few could believe what was plainly emerging in British politics in recent times and is now very apparent following last week’s General …

Housing for homes - a classic case of market failure

Posted on June 02, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
‘What is the concept of market failure and give an example’ was once asked in a school examination of economics. Here is a tip if you are studying economics, yourself: take housing in Ireland as an example. It ticks lots of boxes: A chronic under-supply of housing at current cost, credit, demand and policy conditions. A chronic failure on the part of some policymakers and politicians to …

Labour Market research on the island of Ireland

Posted on May 22, 2017 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The fifth all-Ireland inter-disciplinary annual Labour Market conference took place in NUI Maynooth on 12th May. The biggest such conference yet, it drew participation from trade unionists, researchers and policy analysts from across the island. An overview of the 32 presentations at the conference is now available here. The theme of precarious work was very much to the fore of the conference …

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 “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).  …

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 …

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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