Posts in the "Inequality" category

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

Universal Private Health Insurance: Terms & Conditions will apply

Posted on May 17, 2014 by Tom Healy

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

Recently the Government in the Republic of Ireland issued a White Paper on Universal Health Insurance. In it, the Government states: ‘it has set out an ambitious plan for the most far-reaching and fundamental reform of our health system since the foundation of the State.’ It describes the proposed reform of the health service as involving an end to the current ‘deeply unfair and highly inefficient’ two-tier health system. It promises a single-tier health system which:

  • delivers proactive, integrated care at the lowest level of complexity that is safe; timely, efficient and as close to home as possible;
  • provides equal access based on need rather than ability to pay;
  • drives the wider ‘whole of Government’ approach to health in all policies, and
  • delivers true value for the Irish people.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInequalityTaxation

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

Why should taxpayers pay for ‘free’ higher education?

Posted on April 06, 2014 by Tom Healy

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

Why indeed? Data published by the CSO and OECD show much better earnings and employment outcomes for third level graduates.  The cost of providing higher education is not small. At approximately €9,000 on average per student per annum the true total cost varies by location, type of course and field of study. Tuition fees and the ‘student charge’ are sizeable but when added together are less than half of the overall cost in the case of undergraduate courses. The rest is financed by the State. Last week a NERI Working Paper ‘We Need to Talk about Higher Education’ explored the evidence in relation to the funding of Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland and how it compares with other countries. It concludes with some proposals for future funding.

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Permanent link | Categories: InequalityTaxation

1 in 4 Northern Ireland workers do not earn enough for a decent standard of living

Posted on March 24, 2014 by Paul Mac Flynn

The Nevin Economic Research Institutel published its latest Quarterly Economic Observer today Tuesday 25th March. In it, we examine the extent of low pay across Northern Ireland:

  • 25% of workers earn less than the 'Living Wage' (169,000).
  • 17% are officially classified as low paid (115,000) and 9% (61,000) earn only the National Minimum Wage or less.
  • Young people, women and those in part-time work are most at risk
  • Upper Bann, North Antrim, East L'Derry and Newry & Armagh are hotspots for low pay.
  • Low Pay is widespread in sectors such as Accommodation, Food, Retail, Residential and Social Care.

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Permanent link | Categories: InequalityJobsLiving wageNorthern Ireland Wages

A Budget for the few

Posted on March 19, 2014 by Paul Mac Flynn

Budget 2014 announced some interesting measures for pensioners and savers but overall the economic strategy remains as it was. Government fiscal policy remains committed to reductions in government expenditure extending to the end of the decade despite serious concerns over the sustainability of the current 'recovery'.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInequalityInvestmentMacroeconomicsNorthern Ireland TaxationWages

The Recession and Child Poverty

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Micheál Collins

The proportion of the Republic of Ireland’s children living in households whose income is below the 60% of median income poverty line has experienced limited change over the past few years. While the years 2006-08 recorded a decrease from 22.3% to 18.0%, by 2011 (the latest data available from the CSO) almost 1 in every 5 children (18.8%) lived in a household experiencing relative income poverty.

Over the period 2006-2008 the proportion of children living in households experiencing both relative income poverty and deprivation (consistent poverty) decreased from 10.3% to 6.3%. However, since then the impact of the recession has seen consistent poverty numbers increase. By 2011 9.3% of the ROI’s children experienced consistent poverty.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

Women in Ireland: Better educated, living longer but paid less

Posted on March 07, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Saturday March 8th marks International Women’s Day, an opportune time to reflect on the relative socio-economic position of women in our society.

While there are a myriad of facts, figures and data that allow us to explore this topic I am going to focus on three ‘gender gaps’ in this blog which uses data for the Republic of Ireland.

First, women are better educated than men (the gender-education gap). The CSO’s latest Measuring Ireland’s Progress report (launched in January 2014) reports that 46.9% of the population aged 25-34 years had third level education – the 4th highest level in the EU where the average is 34.58%. More than half of Irish women in that age group (53%) had a third level qualification versus 40.4% of men.

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderInequalityWages

A Living Wage for Ireland: Some Considerations and Initial Estimates

Posted on March 05, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Publication cover - NERI WP A Liv Wage for Irl 2014 no12 - Cover image for NERI WP A Liv Wage for Irl 2014 no12
Cover image for NERI WP A Liv Wage for Irl 2014 no12

Over the past decade the concept of a living wage has gained added attention across the developed world. 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 afford the essentials of life.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityJobsLiving wageWages

Comparing Wealth in Ireland and the EU

Posted on February 10, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Wealth EU data Feb 2014

Indicator 4.4 from the NERI’s latest Quarterly Economics Facts (QEF) document examines wealth across Europe using a measure of average net financial wealth per person. This measure, calculated using the latest data from Eurostat, captures assets such as cash, bank deposits and shares but does not include non-financial wealth such as property. The data is for 2012 – the latest year where comparable EU wide data is available.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityMacroeconomics

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