At a time when the country is trying to regain competitiveness, it is worth pointing to areas where we are extremely competitive. €150 will get you in to the rest of the season’s home league games at Shamrock Rovers, and you can add kids to the half season ticket at €25 a pop. How much change would you have out of €150 after a Ryanair flight to Old Trafford, a match ticket there, and a couple of prawn sandwiches?

Other League of Ireland clubs also offer good value. So get out and support your local club!

16 replies on “Competitiveness”

Hmm… I kinda think Kevin that a hedonic adjustment might just change the equation somewhat.
I mean, St Mels Park v Emirates stadium….no contest there really…

Lifestyle changes are a good idea, as are strong locks….. Time to cash in the pension and find a quiet warm country? Oooops, that boat has sailed……

Surely, for economists not to have known what was going to happen means that there is something wrong with what they espouse? Or do they say one thing and practice another? This is a serious depression, with debt levels that beat the “Great Depression”. And we are making jokes about it.

Yes, we are. Nothing wrong with jokes. As for cognitive dissonance in irish economists, let me direct you to this
Lucey, B.M., Delaney, L.
A psychological, attitudinal and professional profile of Irish economists
(2007) Journal of Socio-Economics, 36 (6), pp. 841-855.
which is also available on

As for “nobody knew” , well dont confuse forecasts with analysis, and dont forget the legions of papers and reports that drew attention to the problem which were ignored by giovernment. Blaming economists is like an obese person blaming doctors when they get a heart problem.

Prof, Lucy,

Most non-academics do not, as a rule, read the academic journals. Though I will read the above citation and see if it ‘passes’ the psyops test!. Actually, many academics do not read ‘across’ different academic subjects. It neatly explains Pat Donnelly’s comment. Pat, our cherished economists, (as indeed are many other academics), are ‘ignorant experts’. I did not coin this phrase, thought I wish I had done so. I have tried to locate the citation but so far without success.

Brian P.

There are a couple of reasons why the price per util is lower in the League of Ireland than across the water.

The first is sporting: our League is a lot better than people who don’t go realise. European results bear this out: this year’s UEFA cup semi-finalists, Dynamo Kiev, only knocked out Drogheda 4-3 on aggregate, and came inches from losing on away goals: see The League has been steadily advancing in European rankings as a result.

The second is economic. I assume that most club expenses go on salaries. Star wages in England are bubble wages, and thus further removed from reality than their equivalents in Ireland (where, I admit, there was probably also a mini-bubble the last couple of years). Therefore a greater proportion of the ticket price in England is not justified by fundamentals. QED.

The season ticket for Bray wanderers was 100 at the start of the season. Great value.
I have an idea for an add for the Eicom league.
My Friend is Soccer crazy. She supports Arsenal and Bray.
About 60 people from the Arsenal supporters including herself, went to Arsenals second leg against United in the Emirates. The game was over after 10 mins.
So the add would show them going over in the plane staying over spending a fortune and the look on their faces when the second goal went in.
Then show Bray loosing to Drogheda at home.
Followed by them sitting in their local having a laugh laugh after the game.
Then some kind of ending caption saying “League of Ireland football, sure you will have bad days but at least they wont cost you the Earth”

@Brian Woods
Well, im not sure what the “psyops test” is, but anyhow.

The article is at Lucey, Brian M. and Delaney , Liam D.,A Psychological, Attitudinal and Professional Profile of Irish Economists in 2004(July 2004). Available at SSRN: (you may have to register)

As for being “ignorant experts”, well, thats a wider debate. However, a quick look at say Kevin O’Rourke or myself will suggest that we have a wide base of thoughts (kevin also has the advantage over me of depth…). Lots of economists posting here are pretty wide read in other areas. Look at Liam Delaney for example, as above, who is working in the neuro area. there are countless examples.

“Ignorant Experts”?
Lots of “professions” (people who claim to exercise skill based on knowledge, training and experience – while also claiming a dimension of freedom/independence and altruism) display this feature.
I challenge any such group in Ireland to throw the first stone at any other. During the 1960s, German students used the term “Fachidioten” to describe staff in higher education.

“Fachidioten” clearly has a wider scope and it is part of a wider debate. Having read some of Mancur Olson’s work and met him when he visited Dublin during the 1980s, I suggest that his analytic framework fits perfectly with the state we are now in ie. a stable society which has allowed the accretion of vested interests to dominate policy formulation, implementation and execution.

The economics profession is doing an excellent job, as it did during the 1980s, on informing us of the options and effects of various proposals. This web-site draws attention drawn to reports, documents and opinions that I, for one, would not come across otherwise. It is clear than many others also find this site informative and stimulating!

But government can and does ignore considered advice, preferring to act in whimsical and arbitrary ways, often at the behest of “experts”. These often benefit vested interests eg. the decentralisation policy, which subverted the National Spatial Strategy, led to a mini-office property boom in various places around the country.

This type of “expertise” deliberately ignores other sources of knowledge.
The building of the two initial LUAS lines, without interconnecting them (as originally proposed and then promised by FF), is an excellent example of the results of ignorant expertise, on the part of a so-called transport expert working for the PDs, ably supported by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce led on this issue by the then Chief Executive of Eircom. That particular event is the only time that I can recall other engineering and transport groups going public on their disagreement with the decision. Economists have a better record of outlining other options.

The public authorities have still not managed to “join the dots” in the LUAS system, more than10 years after that initial disastrous decision.

Perhaps one result of this economic crisis will be an end to the dominance of the ignorant expertise as shown by government giving into vested interest groups. Let the economics profession continue to promote a “joining of the dots” in public policy making and implementation.

As citzens, we need to find ways for limiting the scope for excess by not only by all so-called experts, but also by those in positions of power and influence.

I blew €60 return (all in) on Ryanair this weekend to go see Hull City play Bolton (don’t ask, I’ve supported them since I was 6) plus £28 for tickets. For under €100 my 9 year old son and I had a ball of a day; especially when Hull equalised and all we have to do is beat Man U next week to stay up!

Perhaps this blog site is finally creeping towards a useful discussion of locally traded services, albeit via Shamrock Rovers. This is a useful complement for the large body of opinion that believes that our wage competitiveness is a problem. If I had a top three list of favourite reforms it would be:

1. Legal reform: Self regualtion doesn’t work, and needs to be amended. The NCC Annual Competitiveness Report (figure 3.44) show that legal fees in Dublin top London, Boston and well, actually everywhere that the NCC checked.
2. Public Transport: This sector is clearly of a size and importance to merit a top-3 place, though I don’t have a metric for the possible efficiency savings.
3. Payments Reform: the continued high use of cash and cheques costs an estimates €1.5bn according to IPSO. We have the ‘new motorways’ of a modern payments system in place already, we just need to persuade people to stop using the ‘country roads’.

I would expand “payments reform” to “retail banking” in general. Irish banks used to ignore basic services as they were making enough money on property, while now they have other priorities. The Irish experience on retail banking is primitive, even when compared to a German savings’ bank.

I would also add “health reform”, including pharmacies and insurance.

Electricity now seems to be provided by something that is beginning to resemble a market, but further unbundling would be welcome.

Kevin O rourke recently cited an article published recently Which went some way in explaining the relative failure of economists to predict the crisis or its seriousness.This article backed up by others has suddenly been forgotten? heres the gist, the academics were bought by the vested interests ,including governments and results were bent to fit the status quo mantras of neo liberal theology.Those who published papers critical of neo liberal theology were buried in the obscurity of leafy academes and those who were plain wrong and there were plenty of them were relying on probability models whose assumptions and frames are now in question.I fully expect a reaction of defensive posturing to this comment and only wonder that so many economists could be so wrong,for so long and yet not man enough to admit it

I sincerly hope you know more about economics than you do about football,O Rourke

Regarding the bubble in english football and the associated lack of competition for the title (outside the top 4), would the American Football way of doing things not be better? The worst teams at the end of each season get first pick of players in the draft. It makes it a lot more competitive and exciting and prevents 1 team dominating year after year…slightly off the point I know!

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