Posts in the "Inequality" category

Trends in Average Incomes since 2006

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Income levels, whether for individuals or households, are far from perfect measures of progress and well-being. However, they offer one insight into the experience of recent years for households across the Republic. In particular, trends in disposable income (income after taxes and welfare payments) provide some understanding of what households have left in their pockets to spend each week/month or across the year.

The skewed nature of Ireland’s income distribution was highlighted in a recent NERI Research inBrief which I published in February. It is available here .

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderIncomeInequalityWages

Budget 2015: another regressive budget

Posted on October 24, 2014

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

Recently the Government in the Republic of Ireland unveiled its budget for the year 2015.  By European law the Budget is subject to approval  by the European Commission. Unlike a number of other European Union Member States it seems highly likely that the Budget will be approved. In the normal flow of events a Finance Bill will be enacted by the parliament or Dáil in Dublin before the end of this year.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInequalityInvestmentTaxation

Water charges: affordability and distribution of cost.

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Tom McDonnell

Tom McDonnell profile

User based water charges went live on the 1st of October. Consumption charges are regressive, impact disproportionately on low income households and the introduction of user based water charges raises significant affordability issues. The current system of free allowances is expensive, poorly targeted (with subsidies for richer households) and economically inefficient. In the accompanying NERI inBrief I briefly describe two alternative models. These are a water credit model to prevent water poverty, and a zero free allowance model to generate a more progressive distribution of the cost of water service provision while maintaining the user pays principle.

In an NERI inBrief entitled 'Water Charges, Water Poverty and Water Credits' I discuss one aspect of the new regime: affordability and distribution of cost.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

Deprivation Trends Highlight Living Standards Impact of Recession

Posted on October 08, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Indicator 5.1 in the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts document tracks trends in poverty and deprivation in the Republic of Ireland from 2004 to 2012 – the latest year where data is available. Overall it reflects a decrease in poverty levels to 2009 before these began to increase again as the recent economic crisis took hold.

Data on deprivation offers a further insight into these recent trends. It measures the proportion of the population who are unable to afford any of eleven basic items. The items range from two pairs of strong shoes, to a warm waterproof coat, to the ability to replace worn out furniture.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

The case for investment in social housing

Posted on October 07, 2014 by Daragh McCarthy

Publication cover - Housing inBriefOct2014 - Ireland's Housing Crises
Ireland's Housing Crises

"Regeneration schemes”, we must never forget, are not just about plans, structures or budgets. They are not just about the physical houses provided. They are about communities that are enabled to thrive and flourish. They are about people who are being acknowledged and encouraged to develop a proud sense of their identity, to nurture feelings of belonging that empower them to shape their present circumstances and imagine their future.
President Michael D. Higgins (2014) Speech at the opening of the Thornton Heights Housing Scheme

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Permanent link | Categories: InequalityInvestment

The Earnings Distribution: the bottom, the middle, the top and the very top

Posted on September 09, 2014 by Micheál Collins

There has been lots of talk in recent months about ‘middle-earners’ – almost all of it without any basis in the various numbers available on the income and earnings distribution. Indicator 4.5a in the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts (p75-76) provides a basis for a more informed understanding.

The indicator uses the latest earnings data from the Revenue Commissioners’ Statistical Report to profile the distribution of earnings. Dealing only with taxable income the data details the distribution of tax cases (individuals or couples who are jointly assessed) by total gross income for the 2011 tax year – the latest available.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityWages

How much tax do people really pay

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Micheal Collins profile

How much Tax do people really pay?

Too often considerations of the taxation system are focused on income taxes, or income related taxes like social insurance; a narrow perspective given the composition of taxation revenue received by the exchequer. Indeed, the oft-cited phrase ‘taxpayers’ is generally taken to mean income taxpayers rather than its more appropriate meaning of all those paying taxes – whether from income, expenditure or other contributions.

 A new research paper by Dr Micheál Collins of the NERI examines how much tax people ‘really’ pay. It uses data from the most recent Household Budget Survey to bring together information on the total amount of direct (income tax and social insurance payments) and indirect (VAT, excise and levies) tax paid by people in the Republic of Ireland.

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Permanent link | Categories: InequalityTaxation

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

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

Après Piketty

Posted on June 27, 2014 by Tom Healy

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

In scenes slightly reminiscent of the papal visit to Ireland in 1979 the departure of what the media has styled ‘rockstar’ Thomas Piketty has left a curious void.  Was it a temporary mid-summer event to fete the fascinating and seductive ideas of a left-leaning French economist while regretting all the time ‘but that would never work here because ….’?  We belong to a world where tax is viewed as a ‘burden’ and we wonder why the French ‘tolerate’ such high taxes (and yet, ironically, wonder at their public infrastructure, health system and early childhood provision). 

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Permanent link | Categories: Inequality

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