Reminder: Economics Conference on Monday

There remain a few spaces for this workshop if you can email
The third in the series of Dublin Economics Workshop meetings on the Irish economy will take place on November 2nd at the Radission SAS Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 2.   The programme details are as follows:
1300 Registration
Session 1
Chair and Discussant – John Fitzgerald (ESRI)
1330-1415 David Blanchflower (Dartmouth) – What Should Be Done About Rising Unemployment?
1415-1445 Colm Harmon (UCD) – Education and Innovation Strategies
1445-1515 Discussion and Q&A
1515-1530 Coffee Break
Session 2
Chair and Discussant – Colm McCarthy (UCD)
1530-1600 John McHale (NUIG) – The Other Crisis:  Whither Irish Pensions?
1600-1630 Philip Lane (TCD) – Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Adjustment in Ireland
1630-1700 DIscussion and Q&A
Please RSVP to (many thanks to those who have already done so!).  We are looking forward to a full house and a lively meeting.

Risk Sharing and Accounting Issues

Not too long ago, the Green Party announced with great fanfare that they were getting the NAMA plan amended to feature “equal risk sharing” between the government and the banks (though not between the government and bank shareholders as proposed by Patrick Honohan). Even as it was announced, there were strong rumours that this risk sharing element would represent a tiny change to the original plan. This has now been confirmed.

Continue reading “Risk Sharing and Accounting Issues”

Sean Barrett on the transport bill

In today’s Irish Times, Sean is underwhelmed by the transport bill.

In my understanding, the new National Transport Authority merges a number of state bodies and has at least the potential to cut costs and create synergies. I probably disagree with Sean on that point.

I agree with most of the rest. I would have argued, though, that privatising the state-owned transport companies and cutting their subsidies would be welcome news for the budget. Dismantling the transport monopolies would bring welcome cuts in costs for households and businesses.

Interaction Effects of the Bank Liability Guarantee and Asset Purchase Schemes

Both the Irish bank liability guarantee (instituted in September 2008 and likely to be renewed) and the asset purchase scheme (likely in place soon via NAMA) have been controversial, and their strengths and weaknesses have been widely debated.  Less attention has been paid to the powerful interactions between these two schemes.   If both schemes go ahead, perhaps these powerful interactions could serve to improve overall cost-efficiency and policy effectiveness. Continue reading “Interaction Effects of the Bank Liability Guarantee and Asset Purchase Schemes”

The debate on the EU budget after 2013 gets underway

A draft Commission communication on reform of the EU budget has been widely leaked yesterday. The full communication is expected to be published next month in response to the consultation exercise on the EU budget which was mandated as part of the Inter-Institutional Agreement in May 2006 on the EU medium-term financial framework (MFF) for the 2007-2013 period. It is not, in itself, a proposal for the next MFF to start in 2014 which will be the prerogative of the new Commission when it takes up office at the start of next year, and which will not be presented until the first half of 2011. Nonetheless, the forthcoming communication sets out the choices facing Member States as they prepare for these negotiations in a clear fashion.

I discussed some of these choices in my paper to the recent ESRI/FFS Annual Budget Perspectives conference. On the expenditure side, the make-up of EU budget expenditure in 2013 will be roughly one-third for CAP income and market support measures, one third for cohesion policy, and one-third for everything else – rural development, research and external actions being the most important.

There is broad support for shifting the composition of budget expenditure towards meeting some of the global challenges facing the EU, including addressing issues of energy security, climate change, competitiveness, migration and projecting a more ambitious global European presence. The key principle is that budget spending should only be undertaken where it can be shown that there is a clear European value added over national spending. Continue reading “The debate on the EU budget after 2013 gets underway”

Carbon tax galore

The Dept Finance has reinfored the expectation that there will be carbon tax as of January 1st, according to the Irish Times.

IBEC does not like a carbon tax (Irish Times), but the Royal Irish Academy does (Irish Times).

Frank McDonald writes about the impact of a carbon tax on the upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen. As things stand now, the carbon tax will be announced on the second day of international negotiations. The opening shots will have been fired on the first day, and nothing much will be happening on day 2 with thousands of journalists hanging around Copenhagen itching to write about a success in climate policy. Ireland’s carbon tax will thus attract worldwide media attention.

The economic rationale for a carbon tax in Ireland was first set out in a paper from 1992.