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Posts in the "Inequality" category

Income and Earnings: an insight

Posted on February 06, 2013 by Micheál Collins

Discussion on various policy options and decisions by Government is often framed in the context of the income distribution and the impact on families and individuals above and below certain income thresholds. Whether it is tax increases, welfare reductions, wage changes or the new property tax, political and media comment often refers to high and low income families, those earning more than €50,000 or €100,000 etc. Unfortunately, much of this comment tends to be distant from the reality of the income distribution in Ireland - something often cited but much misunderstood.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

1 in 5 children at risk of poverty

Posted on January 14, 2013 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 2006-07 recorded a decrease from 22.3% to 19.9%, by 2010 almost 1 in every 5 children (19.5%) 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 it has increased and in 2010 8.2% of the ROI's children experienced consistent poverty.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

One fifth of Workers are ‘low-paid’

Posted on January 02, 2013 by Micheál Collins

Eurostat, the EU Statistics Agency, recently released new data on the proportion of low-paid workers in Ireland and across the EU. Their analysis defines low-earnings in relative terms measured as those earning two thirds or less of the national median gross hourly earnings. Median earnings are the earnings of the middle worker in the distribution of workers from the lowest earner to the highest earner. The data is from the 2010 Structure of Earnings Survey, a survey that occurs every four years across the EU. Its key findings for Ireland are:

  • The low-wage threshold in 2010 was €12.20 per hour
  • 20.7% of Irish workers are considered low paid
  • Low pay is more common among women, those with low education levels and workers with fixed duration contracts.

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderIncomeInequalityJobs

The growth in part-time work

Posted on December 13, 2012 by Micheál Collins

In the current edition of Mandate's regular publication, Shopfloor, I have an article highlighting the growth in part-time work over recent years. In it I highlight some of the material from the recent NERI conference on the unemployment crisis. The key points are:


While the headline figures on job losses tend to receive a lot of attention (over 300,000 jobs have been lost since 2007), the growth in the number of workers who are working but on reduced hours has been significant.

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderIncomeInequalityJobs

Average disposable income falls 10% since 2007

Posted on December 03, 2012 by Micheál Collins

The experience of recession and austerity over recent years has been widespread. The impact has been greatest on those who lost their jobs since the combined economic, fiscal, banking, property and social crisis hit Ireland - something I highlighted in a paper at the recent NERI Conference 'Responding to the Unemployment Crisis' (details are here).

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

Using Minimum Incomes Research for Policy

Posted on November 28, 2012 by Micheál Collins

Last week I and my fellow researchers on the recent Minimum Income Standards work spoke at an Irish Social Policy Association (ISPA) event on the topic of using minimum incomes for policy analysis and policy planning. In my section of the seminar I highlighted six areas where this research is useful and I have turned these points into a set of slides which are available on the NERI website.


The six areas I highlighted are:

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequality

Budget 2013 and onwards: choices and consequences

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Micheál Collins

The Society of Saint Vincent DePaul launched their pre-Budget document entitled 'The Human Face of Austerity' on Thursday October 25th. At the launch I spoke about the choices government have as they compile Budget 2013 and reflected on some of the context and consequences of these choices for workers and families in Ireland.


The SVP document, available on their website here, complements much of the research I am colleagues have been engaged with over the past few years on minimum living standards for Ireland. The NERI working paper on the Cost of Work provides a good overview of that research and its findings.


The slides from the seminar are here. The key points raised were:

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingIncomeInequalityMacroeconomicsTaxation

Income and the Gender Divide

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Micheál Collins

Income and Gender Graph

How do the incomes of men and women compare? How have they changed in recent years and whose income is highest? These are questions that are often asked and speculated upon in the context of male/female earnings and income divisions. Using data from the CSO's Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) it is possible to reach some answers - something we report in the latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts document (see indicator 4.3b).

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderIncomeInequality

Working Poor are the largest group experiencing poverty

Posted on October 09, 2012 by Micheál Collins

Working poor chart


One in every seven of the Irish population (15.8%) lives on an income which is less than the official poverty line. Given a population of approximately 4.58 million people this implies that almost 725,000 live at risk of poverty.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityJobs

Three-quarters of earners have incomes below €50,000

Posted on September 10, 2012 by Micheál Collins

Tax Case Distribution 2009

Despite its relevance to various public policy issues, information on the levels and distribution of earnings in the Republic of Ireland is limited. Over the next year the NERI plans to address this deficit with research examining incomes and earnings in Ireland based on data from the CSO's Survey on Income and Living Conditions, the National Employment Survey and the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityTaxation

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