Kenmare DEW October 2011 Conference

Dublin Economics Workshop – Kenmare 2011

Annual Economic Policy Conference

 October 14th to 16th



 The organisers of Kenmare 2011 are interested in receiving proposals for policy-oriented papers in the following areas (please suggest further topics if you wish):


The Fiscal Challenge in Ireland

The Banking Crisis

The European Response 

What Happened to Competition Policy?

Pensions Reform

 We will also have a special session this year focused on the work of young(er) researchers. We would like to invite researchers under the age of 35 to submit papers on economic policy issues with the best four papers to be presented at the conference this year. The best paper will be awarded a prize of €500 while the other presented papers will be awarded prizes of €250.  The conference fees and accommodation expenses of one author per paper will also be waived.


An initial expression of interest (whether over or under 35!) including title of paper and a short abstract, should be made to Sean Barrett, Robert Watt, Colin Hunt, or Colm McCarthy by June 30th. 

25 replies on “Kenmare DEW October 2011 Conference”

Young economists, write a paper. The Park Kenmare is the business. Your other half will love it.

Has any policy recommendation ever actually come out of this conference? And if so was it ever acted on? What is, in fact, the utility of same?

I’m sure this was asked before, but why is the Dublin conference in Kenmare?

Many excellent policy recommendations have come from every Kenmare conference.(Indeed the organisers should put the old papers on the web.) That is the conference’s utility. If they were not acted on, well there’s still time. But isn’t that a matter for the Dail chamber rather than conference rooms in Kenmare?


I recall very little discussion in 2006-08 of the risks to financial stability from an over concentration of lending to the property sector.

Three years after the GFC and still discussing its implications. Horse, Stable & Bolted.

@Cathal Guiomard,

“But isn’t that a matter for the Dail chamber rather than conference rooms in Kenmare?”

Indeed. But while public policy is concocted behind the scenes by a cabal comprising a minister, special advisers and senior department officials (with thier ears being bent by special interests), presented as a fait accompli, spun furiously and whipped through the Oireachtas and while Oireachtas Cttees lack the powers and resources to retain the policy formulation and policy scrutiny expertise on show in Kenmare to exercise some restraint on the often hare-brained schemes of governments, we’re not going to see much sensible progress.

In fact, this is a major contributing factor to the mess we’re in. And there is little evidence that any lessons have been learned.

And it is even worse in the economic regulatory sphere where ‘public consultations’ are conducted that are really optical illusions to conceal the underlying negotiation between the regulated business and the regulator (which has either been captured by the regulated business or is implementing implicit government policy or both), where the underlying conflicts between providers of finance and the management and staff of these regulated businesses, on one side, and the interests of consumers, on the other, are totally suppressed, where consumers interests are not advocated in an effective, adversarial manner, where there is no potential to contest and rebut, using theory and evidence, the woolly-thinking and special pleading and where anyone who has the gall to critique this consumer- and economy-damaging charade is ignored or villified.

Kenmare is a totally surreal event in the context of how economic power and influence are exercised in this society.

@paul hunt

i’ve heard the Kenmare conference described as the closest thing within the Irish economics community to bare knuckle boxing. has the quality of the debate improved of late? or is the focus still on playing the man rather than the ball

@celebrity economist,

It resembles two bald men fighting over a comb. It could easily be full-on – and probably highly entertaining for any spectators – but, at the end of the day it is unlikely to impact one whit on those who seek to secure, retain and exercise economic power and influence.

Don’t be knocking the caps off the scholars. They are doing their best. 🙂

What about some papers on the next crisis ? There is oil, there is population growth, there is the decline of the US, there will be climate breakdown.

@ All

It seems to me that the subjects are well chosen. One could add the subject of “Reform of Economic Governance and Delivery of Public Services” cf. recent speech by Brendan Howlin.

When I read the following, I was almost moved to shout hallelujah!

“Both the Public Service Management Act and the Ministers and Secretaries Act will be replaced with a reformulated code of laws that clearly delegate responsibilites in a real and meaningful way. These, too, are necessary changes to support the effective delivery of public services”.

The changes, of course, go no where near far enough. Copying the British idea of a First Division for the public service shows both a total lack of (i) imagination and (ii) awareness of what the situation requires. Employment for the vast bulk of those paid from the public purse has to be put on a par with those in the private sector. Thre is no need to continue with a caste system. The great opportunity that I see is that the parlous state of the economy and the impossibility of funding pensions on the present caste system basis makes the choice inevitable.

Now, that would be a subject for Kenmare!

The topic, more than theoretical of the 450,000 people currently unemployed. The policies to be implemented in order to even ‘pretend’ that they might be put back to work over the next 10 years.

Is there a website with more information on the conference fees and how to register?

Simon Twist, we will post a conference programme, booking details etc, on this website when finalised.

How about “the Green Jersey as economic model – intellectual background, theory and practice” ?

@paul quigley,

It might seem like it, but it is not my intent to ‘knock the caps off the scholars’.

I’m just pointing out the huge gulf between what goes on at Kenmare (irrespective of the breadth and quality of the papers or the intensity of the debate) and the process of public policy formulation and implementation.

Those who exercise economic power and influence have absolutely no interest in bridging, or incentive to bridge, this gulf. Some may participate in events like Kenmare, but one can be sure they will seek to advance their own special interests, even if communciated under cover of policy developments in the public or national interest. The academics, for the most part, but with some notable exceptions, will seize the opportunity to raise their public profiles, gratefully lap up whatever crumbs might fall from the tables of the powerful – or accept any pat on the head that might be available.

It’s probably too much to expect the academics to engage to secure reform of the parliamentary processes that, at the moment, fail to scrutinise policy proposals effectively, to contest them and to ensure sensible amendments. But it shouldn’t be unreasonable to expect they might have an interest in having thier expertise applied ex ante in the public interest, rather than than being rendered irrelevant when, for those who do, they are compelled to sound-off ex post when policy is presented, fully formed, as a fait accompli. But, perhaps, I’m missing something?

@ PH: “… there is little evidence that any lessons have been learned.”

And more than ample that learning is neither possible nor desired. Look at what happens to ‘naughty boys’ (and the other gender) when they wander into the Truth Zone!

“But, perhaps, I’m missing something?” Not a thing! There is nothing visible.

Brian Snr.

@ Colm

(“please suggest further topics if you wish”)

Judging by the debate on the previous thread maybe the following topic may also be timely:

“The future of Ireland in Europe”.

Good luck with the conference prepations.

@ Paul Hunt

Your contributions are always constructively critical, succinct and readable. Some of your exchanges with DOCM and others deserve a wider audience, and give us all hope for the future. Please continue with your good work.

‘It’s probably too much to expect the academics to engage to secure reform of the parliamentary processes….’

As the saying goes, the poltical conjuncture has not yet ripened. People of most persuasions are still going on in the old ways, and waiting for normality to return. I guess you are one of the growing number who can see that we are entering terra incognita.

@paul quigley,

Many thanks for your kind words. Since this blog is supposed to be about the Irish Economy, I contunously, but generally vainly, seek to highlight economic issues where Ireland retains considerable sovereignty and where refrom would generate significant economic benefits, rather than the big fiscal deficit, default, bank financing issues where much of the real decision-making is out of our hands.

This comment on another thread is an example in which you might have some interest:

In actual fact I don’t think we are entering ‘terra incognita’; I think we are trying to chart a route back from the fantasy land of the last 15 years. And most other developed economies have lived in a version of this fantasy land as well. The fantasy was sustained by a naive, but for those exercising ecomonic power, convenient belief in the efficiency of unfettered markets and in ‘competition and better regulation’. It actually required the suspension of the exercise of any critical faculties by a large number of people. And when this suspension could no longer be sustained the severity of the resulting nightmare was in direct proportion to the effort that had been put in to sustain the optical illusion.

Ireland was at the far end of this suspension of disbelief/optical illusion spectrum and the sudden impact of reality has been all the more severe as a result – and more severe than in most other EU member-states.

There is an understandable reluctance to confront the extent to which so many people in positions of authority, influence or – in David Begg’s words, ‘people of standing’ were involved, deliberately or unwittingly, in the creation and perpetuation of this fantasy. It is convenient and face-saving to high-light the follies in banking, property development and fiscal policy, but the effort to sustain this fantasy engaged every aspect of Irish society and its economy. And it is equally convenient, in a similar vein, to rail against the ECB, perfidious EU politicians, their rabble-rousing media and the overmighty bond market rather than confront the failings within.

We need some honesty about the economic analysis that supported this fantasy – it’s broken – and to take steps to restore instititons and procedures of economic governance that have political legitimacy – the current ones are deficient.

But what do you think are the chances of that happening?

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