Ireland’s economists in the world

I’ve taught myself the black art of web-scraping.

There are many rankings of economists and economics departments. IDEAS/RePEc uses a reasonable method and is kept up to date. It also provides rankings by and of countries. Ireland is now ranked 33rd in the world. Ireland’s economists are thus about as good as its soccer players (ranked 31st).

It wasn’t always thus. IDEAS/RePEc has published country rankings since 2005. Ireland’s position has steadily improved over time, as can be seen from this graph. As a number of economists are planning to emigrate, that trend may reverse.

19 thoughts on “Ireland’s economists in the world”

  1. @Richard Tol

    “As a number of economists are planning to emigrate, that trend may reverse.”

    A number of economists are planning to emigrate? Perhaps I’ve missed something in previous threads or this is some kind of ‘in joke’?

    Or do Irish economists know something the rest of us don’t and if we had any sense, we should follow suit? What’s on the horizon? Pray tell.

  2. As a number of economists are planning to emigrate, that trend may reverse.

    If we only export the dud ones we can strategically lower the other countries and improve our own rankings!

    When all you’ve got is lemons…

  3. I guess, RIchard, that this country ranking is, if we count the US as one like the soccer team, more like 17th or so which is overall good and, I suspect, about right – sort of like Norway, NZ etc but not as good as Australia, Israel, US, Netherlands, Spain.

    I think repec keen to allow folks to list their affiliations with self-assigned weightings too which would be good as even things like IZA matter. Overall though pushing up this list would take a lot – maintaining it will be hard enough. This is clearly our ‘zone’.

    Also some ahead of us use ‘national institutes’ well – Sweden is a good example, or indeed Tinbergen in the Netherlands.

  4. @PR gov

    It sounds like a wind-up but I fear it is not. This site is an irony free zone.

    I imagine there are economists emigrating , but I can’t really imagine anyone employing an Irish economist (outside maybe a few mad American think-tanks). How would he/she answer the inevitable interview question “What did you do when you saw the greatest crash in any developed economy coming?” Only 2 or 3 could answer the question, without dissembling.

    What kind of a measure could possibly rank Ireland’s sorry bunch of Yes-men , as the equals of the economists in Norway and Denmark?

  5. Tim,
    You are setting bar too high. Most financial market economists did not see the oncoming train. Neither did pols nor regulators nor senior managers of banks. If they did it would not have happened.

    Morgan KElly ans Noel Ahern (according to PAt Carey) are some of the few to spot the emporor had no clothes.

  6. Emigrating to do what ?
    Pick Spuds in Scotland ?
    Me thinks this a wind up alright ?
    Irish Economists will need a decade of retraining before they can do anything useful in the real world.

  7. @Colm
    Fair point about the multiple US rankings. Ireland’s economists outrank its soccer players, and on current trends will soon outrank its rugby players too.

  8. @Tim O’Halloran,

    I imagine there are economists emigrating , but I can’t really imagine anyone employing an Irish economist (outside maybe a few mad American think-tanks). How would he/she answer the inevitable interview question “What did you do when you saw the greatest crash in any developed economy coming?” Only 2 or 3 could answer the question, without dissembling.

    Maybe you’re joking here, but that question isn’t inevitable. As was mentioned in the Karl Whelan v Richard Tol arm wrestle last week, economists focus on things much smaller than “the economy”.

    Let’s say Colm Harmon is thinking of moving (sorry Colm, only picking you because you’ve posted above!) and he’s asked that question by some university administrator that managed to get themselves on the interview committee. Colm’s answer would probably be “Because lately I’ve been researching how honest people’s answers to surveys are, and how we could get them to tell the truth. Before that I researched how university grades are affected by parental income, early life conditions, gender etc. If you think education is an important topic in economics, I’m yer man.* I’m not applying for this job as an expert on finance.”

    *In the spirit of Dork of Cork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW8rFho6In8

  9. Well we’re losing Kevin O’Rourke. It’s not an economic driven departure, but you can still call it an emigration. (since as we’ve explored before emigration doesn’t have to equal coffin ship stuff).

  10. @tull mcadoo

    I don’t know what you mean about ‘most financial economists’. If you mean private sector economists, they are paid not to see anything their masters don’t want them to see, I think we all accept that.

    Politicians are not paid to know anything about economiics. They regurgitate the general opinions of the economic community, which is why abolishing the Seanad while not reforming the ESRI is madness.

    Senior managers of banks? Since when were they economists? Sean Fitzpatrick positively boasted of his lack of education throughout the boom (as did Bertie, when he was inventing qualifications from the Lodon School of Economics).

    The train coming down the track was bigger in Ireland than elsewhere, so the failure in Ireland is greater than elsewhere. It was only difficult to see the size of the disaster coming. It was not difficult to see that house prices were at least twice what they should have been. Only people totally blinded by ideology (or willfully blind by moral cowardice) could fail to see that.

    As the Dork of Cork says, there must be apologies and retraining. We did not arrive here because Ivor Callely said there would be a soft landing, or because we trusted in Sean Fitzpatrick’s or Sean Quinn’s knowledge of economics (anyone tempted to use the phrase ‘University of Life’ in the future should think of these gents and shut the f–k up_).

    We arrived here because we thought those economists we knew and trusted would warn us if such a thing were possible.

  11. PS

    That should of course read :

    Sean Fitzpatrick positively boasted of his lack of education throughout the boom (as did Bertie, when he was not inventing qualifications from the Lodon School of Economics).

  12. Tim,

    Apologies for sloppy drafting on my part. I should have said most economist with an interest in finance as opposed to those interested in other forms such as the labour market, education etc etc (echoing Enda H point). It was not just the “market economists” who missed the turn. Most missed the turn. Indeed some of those who now reside in the “told u so ” camp were cheer leaders in the boom. Others still got suck in and bought property at the top.

  13. @Tim

    “If you mean private sector economists, they are paid not to see anything their masters don’t want them to see, I think we all accept that.”

    You might be largely right about some of the economists that have been involved with Irish retail and commercial banking (note banking is not the entirety of private sector or even financial sector). It is not widely known that some economists are on bonuses linked soley to the number of times their employer gets mentioned or put on screen as a result of their contacts with the press.

    But to suggest that applies as broadly as you do, is to my certain knowledge, incorrect.

  14. @Sarah
    I know of four others who will have left by Christmas.

    @Tim
    KO’R is moving of Oxford U, which is rarely classified as a mad American think tank.

    @What goes up
    It’s the better economists that have more options abroad. The average Irish academic is paid quite generously compared to her peers abroad. However, top scholars can command better conditions elsewhere.

    @PR guy
    It is not a well-kept secret that the Irish economy is in a spot of bother and that the people here can look forward to a decade or more of high taxes and low services.

  15. @Richard Tol

    It’s the better economists that have more options abroad.

    DAMMIT!

    I hereby request that all Irish Economy blog authors automatically have a flag of residence attached to their posts – so that I may only read quality economists.

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