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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.

What fiscal space?

Posted on June 10, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
In many respects the debate about ‘fiscal space’ is a major turn off for most people as it employs language, terms and concepts that are mechanical, contrived and highly dependent on questionable assumptions. Most policy makers tend to leave the technical details to specialist staff while they get on with the bigger picture on the economy and public finances. The main role of ‘fiscal …

The lost decade of wages

Posted on June 02, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Wages is not an easy topic to consider on the first day of the week which happens to be a public holiday and a mixed one weather wise at that in the Republic of Ireland. Wages form the biggest share of household income for most households. Following years of wage freezes or cuts the economy is in a strong recovery mode now. Yet, as pointed out in previous blogs on this site wage recovery is …

What role should research organisations play today in Ireland?

Posted on May 26, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
On this island we are blessed with an abundance of research organisations and research knowledge coupled with unprecedented access to data sources that we could only have dreamt of a generation ago. Investment in official statistical infrastructure (much of which was prompted by statistical reporting requirements in the European Union) has helped open up new sources of information crossing …

Some questions about the Programme of (new) Government

Posted on May 22, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The recent Programme of Government has set the scene for policy priorities for the coming three years. Clearly, much will depend on international events as well as developments closer to home in shaping the success of economic policy.  The Programme is long on aspiration and light on detail – as inevitably most long-term plans are. However, it is clear that in so far as public expenditure is …

Do we overspend on health?

Posted on May 14, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Ministerial responsibility for health services in the Republic of Ireland has been compared to a stay in some African country. For all its woes and failings the National Health Service (NHS) seems to be a badge of national pride in the UK even 60 years after its establishment. What is it about the Irish health service and its management that attracts so much opprobrium? Everyone wants an …

Wages, Productivity and inflation

Posted on May 08, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Wages are rising again for most workers in most sectors of the economy. The increases are moderate and in many cases the settlements made stretch out over a number of years and are, typically, related to ‘productivity’ measures.  Growth in wages and in productivity is good news all round. Yet, the pace of change and the distribution of change by sector and occupation has wider implications …

What sort of Europe do we want?

Posted on April 29, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
To brexit or not to brexit is a question for the people of the UK next month. There is, however, an even more fundamental question for all Europeans: what sort of Europe do we want and how do we attain it? Inevitably, the short-term questions and concerns regarding trade, investment, employment, migration and regulation of economic activity will drive the debate around Brexit and these matters …

The Tragedy of Hamlet

Posted on April 23, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
 ‘Neither a borrower or a lender be’ so said Polonius in The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare. However, economies in modern times don’t work this way and neither did medieval societies notwithstanding the moral strictures placed on usury.  The fact is that income does not match spending on a day-to-day or year-to-year basis.  Lending and borrowing are based on …

Female participation in the Irish labour market remains below EU levels

Posted on April 17, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The level and quality of employment together with the distribution of skills is central to productivity.  Full employment is possible provided that public policy is directed to this as an overriding priority. When some economists speak of a ‘natural rate of unemployment’ they betray an underlying prejudice – not based on historical evidence – that a particular rate of unemployment is …

Wage inequality on the rise

Posted on April 08, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Although inequality of income has taken up a lot of analytical space for many years much less attention has been given to trends in wage inequality. Last week I focussed on the share of labour in total income in the Republic of Ireland. This week I look at trends in wage inequality.  Two facts stand out: wage inequality in the Republic of Ireland is among the highest in the OECD world (Chart 1) …

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