Map of Economic Thought in Dublin

Following up from the previous post, here is a first version of a map of the history of economics in Dublin.  The purpose of this map is to stimulate discussion and appreciation of the history of economic thought in Dublin. Some of the figures, including Edgeworth, Geary, Cairnes and Bastable, made intellectual contributions that are important internationally, and many of the economists featured were key figures in national policy debates.  It is intended as a public discussion tool and not itself as a primary academic source and draws in detail from excellent source material below, in particular the Boylan et al, 2011, Murphy 1984 and Murphy and Prendergast 2000 books that are worth reading for anyone with an interest in Irish history, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. It is also a work-in-progress and I will update frequently. It is based on a similar project conducted by Professor Ian Preston at University College London. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctp100/Walks/EconWalks.htm Doireann O’Brien provided detailed assistance with locating sources and developing the map and associated resources. Comments or suggestions can be sent to liam.delaney@ucd.ie

Bibliography

Barington, Richard. “History of SSISI.” The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. Web.

Boland, Rosita. “Sophie Bryant, Mathematician and Pioneer of Education for Women.” The Irish Times. 23 Aug. 2016. Web.

Boylan, Thomas. Political Economy and Colonial Ireland: The Propagation and Ideological Functions of Economic Discourse in the Nineteenth Century. London and New York: Routledge, 1992. Print.

Boylan, Thomas A., Renee Prendergast, and John D. Turner. A History of Irish Economic Thought. London: Routledge, 2011. Print.

“British Academy Scholarship.” British Academy Scholarship. Oxford University Press. Web.

Callinan, Frank. “Thomas Michael Kettle: An Enduring Legacy.” The Irish Times. 16 May 2016. Web.

Cullen, Clara, Mary E. Daly, and Orla Feely. The Building of the State: Science and Engineering with Government on Merrion Street. Dublin: U College Dublin, 2011. Print.

“The Economic and Social Research Institute.” ESRI – The Economic and Social Research Institute. Web.

Fanning, Bryan. Histories of the Irish Future. London: Bloomsbury Academic, an Imprint of Bloomsbury Plc, 2015. Print.

“Faulkner, George.” Dublin Music Trade. Ed. Barra Boydell and Catherine Ferris. The Music Libraries Trust, The Society for Musicology in Ireland. Web. 22 June 2017.

Granville, David. “Sophie Bryant (part 1).” Irish Democrat Archive : Features. Connolly Association, C/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD, 10 Dec. 2008. Web.

Harbison, Peter. “Royal Irish Academy.” The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Ed. Brian Lalor. New Haven: Yale UP, 2003. 948-49. Print.

“Houses of the Oireachtas – Where It Began!” Houses of the Oireachtas. Houses of the Oireachtas. Web.

“Identity Statement for Professor James Meenan.” UCD Archives. Winter 1992. Web.

M, M. J. “Professor Patrick Lynch.” The Irish Times. 3 Dec. 2001. Web.

McCabe, Brian. “Building of the Month – Department of Industry and Commerce.” Archive: Buildings of Ireland: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Nov. 2012. Web.

Murphy, Antoin E. Economists and the Irish Economy: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day. Blackrock: Irish Academic in Association with Hermathena, 1984. Print.

Murphy, Antoin E.; Prendergast, Renee “Contributions to the History of Economic Thought-Essays in Honour of R.D.C. Black”
Taylor and Francis, 2000.

Nolan, Mark C. “Keynes’ View on Self-sufficiency.” The Irish Times. 7 Aug. 2012. Web.

O’Connor, J. J., and E. F. Robertson. “Robert Charles Geary.” MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Web.

“Online Catalogue.” Library of Congress. Web. 22 June 2017.

“Online Library of Liberty.” Online Library of Liberty. Liberty Fund, 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 June 2017.

“Oxford DNB Resources.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. David Cannadine. Oxford University Press, 2014-2017.

Preston, Ian. “Women, Economics and UCL in the Late 19th Century.” Women, Economics and UCL in the Late 19th Century. 20 May 2015. Web.

Scott, William Robert. Francis Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching and Position in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge, 1900. Print.

 

London Economics History

Professor Ian Preston at UCL has produced various resources on the history of Economics in London, including a wonderful map of 16 walking tours. His website contains a lot of information about the development of Economics throughout the centuries and is a terrific resource.

There are quite a few Irish connections, not least JE Cairnes and FY Edgeworth. A particularly interesting connection is the presence of Dublin-born Sophie Bryant in the first class of women to take part in co-educational university education, in this case as participants in JE Cairnes’ Economics lectures. Sophie Bryant was an interesting person with several achievements and was awarded an honorary doctorate by TCD shortly after they had started to award degrees to women. She was profiled recently by the Irish Times.

Stimulated by Ian’s work, I am putting together a resource for Dublin and will do a walking tour on Sunday July 16th (sign-up page here). Will post further details in the next few weeks. A working version of our Dublin map is available but not ready for public distribution. If there are any particularly eager people who might be willing to look at it and comment, I would welcome emails.

Annual Report on Public Debt

It seemed to slip under the radar but last week the Department of Finance published the first Annual Report on Public Debt Debt in Ireland.  It is a really useful publication and the first report reviews public debt developments since 1995 and particularly the huge build-up of debt since 2008.  The forward-looking analysis is also very good.

The report can be accessed here.

June 2017 Fiscal Assessment Report

The 12th Fiscal Assessment Report from the Fiscal Advisory Council is now available.  The report has a summary assessment and four in-depth chapters but here’s a summary of the summary to give a flavour of the analysis:

  • The economy is performing strongly and does not require fiscal stimulus.
  • It may be necessary for fiscal policy to “lean against the wind” (i.e be counter-cyclical) to offset overheating pressures and/or prepare for possible downside risks that may materialise.
  • No overheating pressures evident at present but likely if current high growth continues.
  • In the near term, growth may exceed government projections due to momentum from 2016 and possible increase in housing output.
  • Medium-term outlook is uncertain due to external risks such as Brexit, and a “hard” Brexit is used as the central scenario in the latest forecasts.
  • Debt levels remain high and the role of revised debt targets is unclear.
  • Fiscal rules breached in 2016 and likely to be breached again in 2017.
  • Unexpected revenue gains have been used to fund within-year increases in expenditure.
  • In 2016, government revenue (excluding one-offs) grew by 2.7 per cent and primary expenditure by 2.4 per cent; the underlying primary balance was essentially unchanged in 2016 with a similar outcome expected for 2017.
  • Fiscal stance is not appropriate for a rapidly growing economy that is close to its potential, that continues to run a deficit with a high debt levels and that has clearly identifiable risks on the horizon.
  • Fully adhering to the fiscal framework, including to the Expenditure Benchmark after the MTO has been achieved, would go some way towards avoiding fiscal policy that aggravates the boom-bust cycle.
  • The Council welcomes the commitment to develop an alternative to the Commonly-Agreed Methodology for supply-side forecasts.

There is much more detail on all of this in the report.  The report does not contain much about Budget 2018 because the government have not updated their “fiscal space” estimates.  These will be provided in the Summer Economic Statement to be published in a few weeks and will be assessed in the Council’s Pre-Budget Statement.

10th Annual Irish Economics and Psychology Conference

We will host the 10th annual Irish economics and psychology conference in UCD on Friday December 1st. Our keynote speakers will be Professor Don Ross (UCC) and Professor Jennifer Sheehy Skeffington (LSE). If you would like to present, please send an abstract to Liam.Delaney@ucd.ie Those who wish to register to attend can do so at this link. For the first time, we will also host an early career conference the day before aimed at PhD students and early stage researchers in other agencies. Abstracts can be submitted at this link.

On September 8th, we will launch the behavioural science and public policy stream at UCD Geary Institute with Professor Peter John of UCL as the keynote speaker. Details of the new group are available at this link and you can sign up to attend the event here. As well as the new MSc, there are various opportunities in the form of PhD studentships and we will be hiring researchers at all levels sporadically over the next few years. The mailing list for the Irish Behavioural Science and Policy Network is here and we have hosted several events over the last couple of years, including a recent one with Prof Cass Sunstein. We will host a July 11th event with Professor Dilip Soman of the University of Toronto Rotman School (details here).

The recovery in the public finances in Ireland following the financial crisis

Last week Diarmaid Smyth of the Central Bank presented a paper to The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland (SSISI) on Ireland’s recovery from the economic and financial crisis. The paper and presentation provide a rich recent history of developments in Ireland’s public finances during the crisis and recovery.

Interested readers might also be interested in a follow-up piece by Brendan Keenan, titled ‘Foreign help and native skill all part of the recovery story’ in the Irish Independent citing both this work and research from Aidan Regan and Samuel Brazys (UCD) on the role played by FDI in enabling Ireland’s recovery.

Links

Paper:

http://www.ssisi.ie/Public_Finances_and_the_Crisis_in_Ireland_v1_8.pdf

Presentation:

SSISI Presentation_250517

Keenan article:

http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/foreign-help-and-native-skill-all-part-of-the-recovery-story-35775749.html

Brazys and Regan:

http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201701.pdf

 

Brexit: Accelerating the Drive Toward Corporate Tax Harmonisation?

Brexit means the UK is no longer bound by EU Directives aimed at tackling tax avoidance and aggressive tax competition, an issue that has become a high salient electoral-political issue among citizens in EU member states.

The UK will not be bound by the forthcoming Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (which contains five legally binding anti-abuse measures that all member-states must implement by 2019); the Directive on Administrative Co-Operation (aimed at improving cross border transparency and the exchange of information); and they will most certainly not be bound by the proposed Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), should it be agreed and implemented by the Council.

The UK was the loudest and most vociferous opponent of the CCCTB, and successfully blocked its implementation in the Council in the past. Whilst the “unanimity” rule still applies to fiscal policies, which means Ireland still has a veto in the Council, there can be no doubt Ireland has lost its biggest ally in arguing against a common consolidated tax base.

In the context of uncertainty (and in the absence of a CCCTB), most legal-accountants are correctly pointing out that Brexit provides an opportunity for Ireland to take advantage of the present international tax situation. UK firms no longer benefit from those Directives aimed at the Single Market. Brexit means UK firms will no longer have a “one stop shop” for their EU trades. Many have an incentive to merge their businesses to an Irish subsidiary. Some will also consider moving their EU parent companies to Ireland, to ensure they can continue to transfer prices.

Of course, in the medium-to-long run, everything depends on the EU-UK negotiations. As it stands, it would appear that some sort of Swiss+ type deal is the most likely outcome, with priority accorded to a sectoral-industry specific deal for London finance, including the question of passporting and equivalence. Whatever the outcome, a Swiss+ type deal (or the WTO default) will give the UK much greater scope to adopt an aggressive corporate tax regime, which, whilst subject to WTO and OECD rules, would encourage a regulatory race to the bottom in Europe.

This is not good for Ireland.

Further European integration reflects the direction of travel for the remaining EU member-states. This is particularly the case for those countries in the Eurozone (with growing calls for a Eurozone Treasury/Budget and even parliament). Macron and Merkel, and their finance ministers, have made it perfectly clear that the Franco-German preference is for more integration. They know the risk associated with turning the UK into the Singapore of northwest Europe, and they have publicly declared that the harmonisation of corporate income tax systems will be central to their drive toward more integration.

The Commission fully support this Franco-German preference for greater tax harmonisation, which is best reflected in their recent proposal for a CCCTB. It is no surprise that Pierre Moscovici put it back on the agenda directly after the Brexit vote, despite it being defeated previously. Anyone who spends time in Brussels will know that the CCCTB is now a core priority for the EU, and they will persist until it is eventually agreed.

The new CCCTB proposal is slightly different to the previous proposals. It will take place over two stages. The first stage will seek to agree a single set of EU rules to calculate the profits of MNC’s in Europe (i.e. establishing the common tax base). The second and more controversial stage will be aimed at agreeing how to divide up the profits, which is the taxable income given to member-states (based on assets, labour and sales). Ireland will lose out as MNC’s based in Ireland will no longer be able to transfer the profits of their sales in other countries back to Ireland.

The second big change is that the CCCTB will be mandatory for all firms with revenue in excess of 750 million, and that there will be an R/D scheme aimed at supporting small and medium sized enterprises. But perhaps the biggest change is that the CCCTB is now being framed to explicitly tackle corporate tax avoidance in Europe. The Commission have launched a concerted campaign aimed at EU citizens to win support.

Brexit will accelerate the drive to harmonise corporate income tax systems, and the probability of this being successfully passed has increased, not least because of a change in the number of votes. The EU Council now looks completely different: the votes are significantly stacked in favour of the Franco-German alliance. But on CCCTB, qualified majority voting cannot be used, as unanimity is required. However, what this means is that Germany and France will seek to win Irish, Danish, Dutch and Baltic support through consensus, and side-payments.

Whether or not Ireland chooses to completely veto any attempt to introduce a CCCTB is, of course, a political question, and likely to be determined by the partisan colour of elected government. But it is worth asking whether Irish citizens would support policies aimed at harmonising the tax base, even if Irish elites would not? Ireland is already in the spotlight for facilitating global tax avoidance (not least with the Apple case). Further, Ireland makes up less than 1% of the EU population (even if one adds the Dutch, Danes and Baltic states, combined they are only a small percentage of the EU whole). Hence, is it really in Irelands long term strategic interest to veto those EU policies aimed at strengthening the problem solving capacity of Europe, post-Brexit?

The future of the Eurozone is a Franco-German growth model, not an Anglo-American one. Ireland needs to decide which way to go.