NIRSA Report on Irish Property Market Planning

A collection of researchers at the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), R. Kitchen, J. Gleeson, K. Keaveney, and C. O’ Callaghan, have written a powerful new report on Irish property market policy and land development planning policy, critically examining both policy errors during the 1993-2007 period, during the post-crash period post 2007 (including a critique of NAMA) and making suggestions for the future.  The link is here.

The report has a modern geographers’ perspective and is strongest when discussing zoning policy, development policy, and property-related tax policies, but there is still plenty of things for mainstream economics comments/discussion in the report.

The report makes clear to what a large extent post-1993 property-related government policy, right up until today, is driven by the interests of the property development industry.  Coincidentally (or not) this industry is one of the biggest funders of the dominant party in government during this long period.

I am not sure if I am the correct person to paste up this link, but perhaps others can provide useful comments and replies to comments.  (I do not claim to be a property researcher but to the extent that property is a risky portfolio asset it touches a little bit on my own research area.)

Revisiting the NDP

The government has released its revised National Development Plan for the period to 2016.   The documentation includes a short leaflet, Investing for Growth and Jobs: Infrastructure Investment Priorities 2010 – 2016.   With a bit of chutzpah, the document claims the 40 percent cut in capital spending as “stimulus” for the economy.   The emphasis is on new priorities and not on the overall cuts.   Fortunately, the Department of Finance has also released Infrastructure Investment Priorities 2010 – 2016: A Financial Framework, which makes a more sober case for the shift in strategy (see, in particular, Chapters 2 & 3).   The arguments of Colm McCarthy for just-in-time infrastructure provision (based on the time value of money) and more broadly for cost-benefit analysis – as championed on this site and elsewhere by Edgar Morgenroth – would appear to have been influential in the overall approach.   Of course, the precarious state of the public finances looms large behind the change in strategy.  Continue reading “Revisiting the NDP”

The EU’s Relaxed Approach to Bank Stress Testing

The newly released stress test of selected EU-area banks by the Committee of European Bank Supervisors (CEBS) is flawed in its methodology and the results are not a reliable indicator of EU bank sector soundness. A stress test should examine the impact on net portfolio value of extreme but plausible shocks to the key variates explaining net portfolio value.  The CEBS report states proudly and repeatedly that it uses extreme but plausible shocks, and this is true, but it ignores the key-variates criterion of a well-designed stress test.

Continue reading “The EU’s Relaxed Approach to Bank Stress Testing”

Oireachtas report on November floods

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment etc published a report on the November floods while I was on holiday. It is interesting both for what it says and does not say.

The report is clear about responsibilities: There are too many agencies involved, and no one took the lead. The report argues that the Minister of the Environment should take charge.

The committee also laments the role played by the ESB, and underlines that perhaps it should have been involved in Cork’s flood management.

The report has a little gem: “The ESB made the point that they issued two warnings on Thursday, 19th November, which was unique. However, the significance of the two notifications wasn’t appreciated by the general public.” Perhaps that is because the general public did not understand that “higher than 300 m3/s” really meant 535 m3/s. Along the same lines, ESB apparently told the Lee Waterworks at 22:10 that 450 m3/s was being released, while the actual release had reached 546 m3/s by 21:50. The report does not make much of this, but it does call for further investigations.

The report is silent on a number of things. It avoids questions of liability. It calls on the OPW to develop a flood warning system, but omits that crucial data are off-limits to the OPW and that the data exchange between Met Eireann and OPW is not perfect either. The report acknowledges that there too many agencies involved, but it does not name those that should be relieved from their duties.

The list of invitees to the hearings is interesting too: Only insiders were heard. Not at single independent expert was invited.