Posts in the "Income" category

Ireland’s Low Pay Problem: time for a Living Wage

Posted on August 25, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Ireland joined a growing international living wage movement in July when the Living Wage Technical Group launched the 2014 Living Wage. In principle, a living wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with sufficient income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living. In that sense it is an income floor; representing a figure that allows employees working full-time to afford the essentials of life. The figure for 2014 is €11.45 per hour, equivalent to €446 per week.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityJobsLabour costsLiving wageWages

Examining Unemployment Traps in the Republic of Ireland

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Micheál Collins

As individuals transition from unemployment to employment they experience losses of welfare payments and entitlements, gains in earned gross income and they begin to pay income taxes and social insurance contributions on their earned income.

To assess this impact it is possible to calculate a ‘participation tax rate’. It attempts to measure the collective impact of these experiences by estimating by how much changes to taxes and benefits reduce the financial gain of moving into work. A participation tax rate of 50% implies that half of the gains in earnings from commencing work are lost through changes to taxes and benefits.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeJobsLiving wageTaxationWages

The Living Wage points to broader understanding of low pay

Posted on July 04, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Living wage ROI 2

Yesterday’s launch of the Republic of Ireland Living Wage adds to a growing international set of similar figures. The number, which will be updated annually from here on, was calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group. It is €11.45 for 2014.

 There are a number of contexts for this figure: 

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityLabour costsLiving wageWages

Piketty on inequality

Posted on June 14, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

''It is hard to imagine an economy and a society that can continue functioning indefinitely with such extreme divergence between social groups” – so writes Thomas Piketty on page 297 of ‘Capital the 21st Century’. The book is a serious read but not beyond the reach of most readers. It is very well written and accessible. I counted only a handful of mathematical equations in all throughout this 200,000 word book. Not bad for an economist whose book is becoming the ‘Book of the decade’. What Piketty has done is:

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

Time to think about the type of Ireland we want to live in

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Micheál Collins

The impact of the various austerity measures over recent years has been, and continues to be, felt by families in every corner of the country. Whether it is pay, public services or social welfare; all measures point towards a drop in living standards that has been hard felt. Recent data from the CSO quantified the average decrease in income for households since 2008 at 14%; of course it has been much more difficult for households on mid-to-low incomes to absorb this decrease.

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderGovernment SpendingIncomeMacroeconomicsTaxation

New data on Ireland’s ‘working poor’

Posted on May 13, 2014 by Micheál Collins

working poor chart 2012

The recently released CSO SILC report offers an updated insight into the composition of those living below the poverty line in Ireland. That line equalled €203.50 per week for an individual and €338 per week for a couple in 2012 (the year of the most recent data).

Overall 16.5% of the population live at risk of poverty and the report provides a decomposition of this group (see the pie chart). It finds that 12.6% of the poor are at work but not receiving sufficient income to reach the poverty line. That group represents about 6 in every 100 workers; about 100,000 workers.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityLiving wageWages

Work, Pensions and Living Incomes

Posted on April 28, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

The topic of pensions is not the most exciting matter to consider on a bright spring Monday morning. If you are below a certain age you are more likely to be preoccupied about other matters including getting employment that pays an adequate and sustainable income in the near-term. If you are above a certain age the prospect of approaching retirement might very well be the cause of some concern and anxiety given the sudden drop in income expected and the uncertainty about future cost of living, healthcare etc. In so far as pensions get an airing in public discourse it tends to be framed around three core assertions:

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Permanent link | Categories: Income

On the Generosity of Ireland's Welfare System

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Micheál Collins

OECD Replacement Rates 2

Earlier this week, the OECD launched their preliminary review of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. The review rightly complements the significant labour market progress of recent years – a point we highlight in the most recent NERI Quarterly Economic Observer. There we anticipate unemployment will continue to fall reaching 10.2% by 2016.

Although the document itself (link below) does not point towards the Irish welfare system as being ‘generous’, some media reports have suggested it does. However, it is worth examining any such claim on the basis of the data available to us.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeJobsLabour costsWages

A Living Wage: the impacts for employees, employers and the state

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Publication cover - NERI WP Impacts Chall Liv Wage 2014b - Cover image for NERI WP Impacts Chall Liv Wage 2014b
Cover image for NERI WP Impacts Chall Liv Wage 2014b

A discussion on this issue of a living wage has recently commenced in Ireland. The implementation of a living wage raises issues regarding its impact on different actors in society (employees, employers, civil society and the state). Similarly, successful implementation faces a number of challenges.

A new NERI research paper, authored by Micheál Collins, considers some of these impacts and challenges, based on the experiences of living wage programmes elsewhere. In doing so, it points towards issues that need to be considered and addressed as any living wage initiative in Ireland commences.

The paper is available here and complements another NERI working paper on the living wage issued in early March 2014.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeJobsLabour costsLiving wageWages

NERI Seminar: The Irish Labour Market Since the Recession

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Daragh McCarthy

Rory O'Farrell, NERI - Rory O'Farrell, NERI
Rory O'Farrell, NERI

The March NERI seminar took place this afternoon in the INTO Learning Centre. Rory O'Farrell discussed recent trends in the Irish labour market, focusing on the hollowing out of middle paying jobs. Rory is a researcher at the NERI specialising in the labour market and macroeconomics. He previously worked as a researcher in at the European Trade Union Institute, Brussels.


Over the past twenty years, globally there has been a ‘polarisation’ of the labour market with middle paying jobs being hollowed out. However, during the construction boom the opposite pattern was seen in Ireland. This raised the question; did the construction boom mask underlying trends in the Irish labour market?

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeJobsWages

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