New issue of Administration

A new issue of the journal Administration is now available. Full details here. Some of the articles are available to non-subscribers:

14 replies on “New issue of Administration”

From Prof. Ruane’s paper – “… tolerance for ineffective policies and wasteful use of resources is now very low.”

I don’t believe that is more than sporadically true. Large parts of government policy seem wasteful and ineffective, such as for example prioritising the interests of incumbents in public service jobs over almost all other policy considerations.

Frances Ruane’s paper is useful in its highlighting policymaking that is not based on evidence and dependency on ‘expert’ group and consultants’ reports.

The CSO has improved it range of data in recent times but in the enterprise area, we tend to be in the same boat as Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg.

Given the State support of enterprise over 60 years, it’s strange that policymakers would not see merit in longitudinal studies on firms in sectors they target.

Company survival data is not also available.

Thirty years ago, David Birch, an MIT economist, produced research on what he termed high growth and ‘gazelle’ firms.

Eurostat/OECD defines high growth firms as: “All enterprises with average annualised growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period. Growth is thus measured by the number of employees and by turnover.”

In recent times, attention has been focused on these firms because they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of job creation.

About 6% of all UK firms employing more than 10 people, generated half of the new jobs created by existing businesses between 2002 and 2008.

There is a common misconception that these firms would typically be in the high tech sector.

It appears that Irish ministers and other policymakers are among the deluded – – with serious implications.

Frances Ruane says:

In recent years academic institutions have increasingly emphasised the importance of peer-reviewed, international journal articles in promotion processes. While this emphasis has merit, it leaves little incentive for academics to undertake policy research. This is not just an Irish problem. In the UK the immediate impact of the research-assessment exercise was a dramatic reduction in the volume of policy-relevant research in the 1980s.

An analysis by a unit of Thomson Reuters found that in respect of 768 economics & business, articles and reviews, produced at Irish third level in the period 1998-2007, the proportion of uncited papers in economic and business was relatively high (40.8% cf 28.5% average of all research for Ireland), the percentage above world average was markedly lower than elsewhere and the percentage that was relatively highly cited was not much more than half the Ireland average (3.6% cf 6.2%). “This does not suggest that research in this area is currently strong in Ireland.”

re: Frances Ruane paper:

“What is required now is that the approach to research becomes more systematic, more questioning, and with a greater focus on the important policy questions facing Ireland today.”

Unemployment is arguably the most serious policy issue facing the country.

Has the ESRI produced any research/ policy recommendations focussed on the alleviation of unemployment?

Deep down in the IMF report (note 3, page 63 from recollection), the IMF point to the fact that 53,000 jobs are idle due to Ireland’s capital formation being completely out of kilter with Euro norms.

Have the ESRI or other agencies considered this?

How about this for a policy focussed on unemployment.

1. Refund of 25% of all structural material costs for any new house built in the next two years. plus refund of estimated 20% of labour cost of same.
2. The same to apply to finishing houses.

As most of the funds used to build would come from savings, as banks are no longer lending, what would the net effect be in terms of employment or the economy?

Michael H
I break my posting silence here. The report you refer to ( is very partial in that it looks only where the light shines (ie in the journals that are listed in the ISI database). There is a vast and growing discussion on the merits and otherwise of the impact factor, and that pertains to the coverage of the data.
As a journal editor i can state with full confidence that not all good journals are covered in the ISI database used, nor are all journals therein good (for any given value of good)
Second, if we look at the commentary we see for business (wherein i lurk)
” Irish business research has shown strong improvement in terms of rates of citation since 2004. From a low base (citation impact = 0.56 – much lower than world average) Irish papers are now being cited at better than world average (citation impact = 1.27 in 2007). This improvement is complemented by the increase in research volume illustrated in table 1.02.09. Ireland’s ranking within the comparator group has shot up to 5th, behind Scotland, the USA, Northern Ireland and the UK.”

The economics commentary discusses the bias in teh data arising from teh absolute dominance of US journals.

We also see “Economics & business produces a uniquely bimodal distribution. This suggests a split between a group of relatively high performing units and other units with much less internationally competitive research. ” this of course fits right in with the findings of Tol – there is probably a longer tail of non-research active people in E&B than other areas. Now, I would perform fairly radical change but im not in charge….alas.

@Brian Lucey

Don’t leave us hanging – what type of ‘radical change’?

@Michael Hennigan

From my limited knowledge of 3rd level research – for many pushed by the need to publish something or other for career purposes – the real messy world out there is a foreign country!

@ Brian Lucey

Hi Brian,

Welcome back!

I do recognise that citation rankings have their limitations and the impact factor is subject to manipulation. Counting self citations is also an issue of controversy.

Drugs companies are also encountering problems reproducing results cited in medical journals as there is a bias towards reporting positive results (sometimes fraud).

In September 2011, Bayer, the German pharmaceutical firm, published a study showing that it had halted almost two-thirds of its early drug target projects because in-house experiments failed to match claims made in medical journals.

However, as regards the study in question here, the sample of 700+ is still quite a few to give an indication – – 40% uncited?.

@ David O’Donnell

I guess if there was a better metric, it would be tried.

Scotland is at rank 5 for science research citations, Israel at 13th — but it’s the only country that has successfully cloned the Silicon Valley model.

The journal business is a big racket for the leading publishers who make a net profit of about 30%.

Their input is free; peer review is also free and taxpayers mainly fund the research.

The UK government is trying to make some of the research available free.
Journal spending by UK research institutions is about £150m annually.

@Brian Lucey

Blind Biddy will loan you a few bazookas for your scorpions (-; they must be terrified in there of you becoming dean! Do call again.

@ All

This seems to me to be one of the most significant papers to emerge from the ESRI in recent years. It states the obvious to a certain extent viz that policy decisions should be evidence based. The Fiscal Advisory Council has shown in its recent report that the “stimulus package” adopted by Ireland’s current excuse for a government is the very antithesis of such an approach. However, the fact that the problem. which has been the nemesis of the Irish state since its foundation, is at last being addressed by expert opinion is to be welcomed.

The rest is just noise.

@ All

Donal O’Donovan in the Indo on the “best boy in the class” argument!

Could it possibly be the case that Ireland’s creditors view the situation as one of encouragement the Coalition to continue beyond the implementation of the measures undertaken by Brian Lenihan cf. the article by Stephen Collins?

And could the fact that no White Knight is going to arrive before the budget posibly be an element in the improvement in market sentiment with regard to Ireland and not totally unrelated to it?


Two very different articles on both theme and tone.

For me, the Stephens Collins article is to be welcomed and seems to indicate a definite frustration at government; a government that he has batted for in a somewhat partial way. Not before time, but to be welcomed. Well done, Stephen Collins.

That the dogs in the street know that the younger generation is being shafted by government and vested interests has hardly gone unnoticed by the Troika officials.

In relation to the Donal O’Donovan article, why should Europe rush with relief to an Ireland where lavish payments to vested interests are still the order of the day? [We are still paying those tribunal king’s ransoms, I assume, and the €5000 per month Katmandu mileage allowances to TDS]

True, the EZ powers shafted Ireland, but Irish leaders seem perfectly content to shaft other less powerful Irish people. The high moral ground of the Irish government, and Irish people including myself, in relation to the bank debt is merely an island in a very low bog of morality.

The real reason for EZ delay on Ireland odious debt may be the imperative of Spain or that the ‘best boy in class’ does not need grinds, but if they want to look for other reasons, they are there, aplenty.


@ Joseph Ryan

A very useful compare and contrast between the two articles with the content of which I would largely agree. However, what really intrigues me is the question of the explanation for the dramatic improvement in market sentiment. It is clearly attributable in part to the general improvement in sentiment. But what explains the decoupling of Ireland from the rest of the pack i.e. Greece and Portugal? Irish spreads are now on a par with those of Spain and Italy.

re: Bond spreads.

Although I am not familiar with the area, I think the reason probably has to do with the improved cash reserves and the partial removal of the January 2014 funding cliff. From recollection, Seamus Coffey put the cash reserve position at approx 18 billion for end 2012 and pretty high for end 2013 and 2014.
Any foreseeable immediate danger to Ireland is therefore removed.

If somebody buys a five year bond now, for instance, in two years time it will be safely within the ECB snake or whatever system now seems likely to emerge. Longer terms bonds are probably a good bet, particularly in light of the EZ commitment on bank debt.

In the light of other improvements, it is a real pity that the domestic discourse shows little sign facing reality, as outlined in the SC article.

PS: Meantime the domestic sector is struggling very badly and even the export economy is being hit by the recession in Europe. The July and Aug income tax results in particular show a very weak trend.

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