Survey on Economy in Ireland

Seamus Power, a PhD student at the University of Chicago, is conducting a short survey on the economic situation in Ireland. The link is here if you are willing to fill it out. There is also an email address for the study if you have questions or comments.

“You will be asked to read a very short narrative and asked some questions based on it. Participation is voluntary and is expected to take 5 minutes.”

28 replies on “Survey on Economy in Ireland”

The study, while well-intentioned, is completely out-of-date.

It belongs to 2008/2009.

Its like having to fill in a survey in July 2014 on the ‘crisis in Dublin gaelic football’ that’s based on their result v Tyrone in August 2008.

It does not reflect the situation in 2014, which is characterised by:

(a) the resumption of high economic growth, which started off moderately at the end of 2011, continued moderately through 2012 and 2013, and which has clearly accelerated dramatically in 2014. Even in Q1 2014, y-o-y GDP growth in Ireland was the highest in the EU. Based on recent manufacturing, exports and tourism figures, the GDP figures for Q2 2014 promise to be much higher still and signify the official return of the Celtic Tiger.

(b) Rapidly-falling unemployment

(c) Rapidly-falling budget deficit (in contrast to UK where so far in 2014 it is up on 2013 Ireland’s deficit on target to be much lower than UK’s in 2014)

(d) Borrowing costs now lower than UK and USA (largely due to (b)).

(e) Recent upward revision to GDP/GNP figures, which confirm Ireland richer than UK and debt/GDP ratio much lower than previously thought.

(f) not to mention other things such as booming tourism, buoyant agriculture, resurging construction and house-building etc etc

The thinking behind these sorts of surveys is likely to receive the following pair of fatal blows in coming autumn:

(a) population figures likely to show large fall in net emigration (even ignoring fact that inter-census figures frequently underestimate population growth and overestimate net emigration, and are only corrected after census results published, as happened in 2006-2011)

(b) GDP figures for Q2 likely to be stupendous.

In retrospect, a survey such as this conducted in 1993 and referring to the mid-to-late 80s recession would look pretty silly. I predict similar this time around.

@ JtO: “(a) the resumption of high economic growth, …”

Nope John! So-called ‘economic growth’ is I believe, stagnant. That is, in real terms, the nett rate-of-growth is most likely zero percent; wrt 2013.

All our domestic economic stats must be considered unreliable – unless there are other independent sources which corroborate the numbers.

A fall in overall population is to be welcomed. Our population rate-of-growth has to equal our economic rate-of-growth – else we have problems.

I agree with you about the survey: its naive.


thanks a lot for the fast reply.
I dont mind moderation, and my opinion on that is also not important.

but it seems that on “Interest only mortgages” the comment of Paul W was hanging for a day, and my answer is still hanging since Monday noon. and not a single count in any thread to be seen. I also put a short “test” in the IGEES thread, to no avail.

I was starting to wonder.

I have a post “awaiting moderation” for over 24 hours in the previous thread.

Another thing that’s out of date is the belief that there are zillions of empty houses in Ireland. A few years ago Ireland’s most famous economist stated that Ireland had so many empty houses (he claimed built unnessarily as part of the FF/CIF corruption alliance) that we wouldn’t need to build any more for two decades and that tens of thousands would have to be knocked down.

How things change.

From today’s Irish Times:

“Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said the housing supply needs to be “dramatically increased” to avert a crisis”.

So, what happened all the zillions of empty houses FF were supposed to have left behind?

@Liam Delaney

Since you are based in Scotland, and there are now just over 8 weeks left until Scotland’s freedom referendum, may I humbly and respectfully request that you open a thread sometime well before Sep 18 on the relative economic and social performances of Ireland (since independence) and Scotland. I have done a lot of research into this and would be happy to post the results here. Maybe you could use your contacts in Scotland to invite a prominent pro-freedom academic/politician to put the case for, and a prominent anti-freedom academic/politician to put the case against (if there is one). This would be of great interest to any Scots that read this blog. Of course, the blog is called ‘The Irish Economy’, not ‘The Scottish Economy’, but the result on Sep 18 will have major consequences for the Irish economy, so it is relevant. BTW, I will be mostly off this site from August 24 Until Sep 21. I’m using my summer vacation from day job to work (unpaid) behind the scenes for one of the pro-freedom organisations in the final weeks of the campaign. SAOR ALBA.

Maybe john the snark might run his own survey and publish it on how sure its great altogether and the plain people of Ireland will return Ff (in the afternoon after they eat their dinner)
Or not

Chicago Economics?

Almost, imho, as oxymoronic as ‘US Intelligence’!

That said, I will respond to the survey.

David O’D
The level of snarky snideniess towards a student on this site is astounding. I imagine you conflate “Chicago” with “rightwing macro ecopolitical pundits”. A quick google of their site suggests a rather wide ranging school across macro, micro, applied and theory, data and methods. Way to shoot (what you think is the presupposed and therefore prima facia invalidating any view of) the messenger
Between your comment and John the Onanist, or Organist, or whatever, one hope that Seamus Power stays well away from here.

Would readers of this site not skew the outcome? The survey seems to want to establish some link between the reading on an article and attitudes to economic policy related to the content of said article. Most of the readers of this site are so well read on what has happened in the Irish economy that we would be unlikely not be swayed one way or the other by the article, hence our participation would spoil the survey.


+1 On the Scotland thread.

it might be also interesting to have a thread where folks like Paul W and me and others interested in such lowly supermarket information can exchange information, without disturbing the hihg-minded philosophers in the other threads

besides, a completely off topic link, some folks here might wanna know about

who said, was it Trotzki?, you might not be interested in war, but war might be interested in you ?

@ francis

The most interesting item in the Irish media in recent times is the report from Derek Scally, the Irish Times correspondent in Berlin, relaying a recent report in Der Spiegel.

The threat of deflation must be such that even the Bundesbank has had to sit up and take notice. How this will fit with the impact of real sanctions on Russia on the German economy remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Irish establishment continues the examination of the lint in its navel.

Folks – sorry. Getting emails about comments and looking at them not much of relevance to the post. Site seems to be on a moderator lock so each author has to release comments. Will call it quits on this one. Thanks to anyone filling out the survey.

@ LD

Fully understandable! There is, unfortunately, no answer to the conundrum of lightly moderated versus heavily moderated blogs. The latter usually die out of sheer boredom as they appeal to a much narrower audience!


The ostensible prupose of the survey was to assess how a narrative affected ones responses to the survey. I had railed against the questions and the narrative on the basis that they missed the point up of what caused the crash before I saw what the survey was about. It was an excellent touch putting the explanation at the end 🙂

However, I would consider that my responses were coloured more what I read a few years ago when I give more time to considering these matters than what was in the narrative. I read the narrative and dismissed it as simplistic and of no value. I don’t know what value there can be in comparing my responses to the responses of somebody else who read the alternative narrative. Perhaps this would be mitigated with a large enough sample but perhaps not. It is difficult to know how to account for the substantial noise caused by pre-existing knowledge and opinions and/or pre-existing ignorance and disinterest.

@Gavin I am not involved in the study other than being in correspondence with the investigator on various things. I will post findings when they are publicly available.

I am perplexed why two comments I made AFTER completing survey and questioned the relevance of a question in the survey were subsequently deleted while a a number of posts with zero relevance to the original post are maintained. Moderation in moderation to the power of moderation…eh

Below from Seamus Power who is doing the study.

Hi guys,

Thanks for the lively replies & thanks to Liam for sharing this survey.

I am a cultural psychologist, working in the Department of Comparative Human Development, at the University of Chicago. I am not involved with the economics department there in anyway.

The survey will be the first of several experiments which aim to probe how people understand and experience economic downturns. This series of studies is meant to augment more expansive ethnographic work that is the bulk of my PhD. Recently I published an Op Ed in the Guardian based on a series of interviews I did with people in the public eye about their understandings and framings of the recession.

Here is the link:

The survey that was posted here was aimed to investigate – on an experimental level – to see if the “reap what you sow” explanation was accurate or not. The survey was designed to see if support for austerity increases when people are made to feel culpable for their own economic downfall.

I am more than happy to share my results when they are published. This may take some time. The survey is posted elsewhere; I am aware of the potential sampling bias introduced by posting of various sites and have aimed to get exposure from several alternative webpages.

Thanks again for taking interest in my work,
With Best Wishes,

@ Seamus Power via Liam Delaney

What strikes me is your seeming underlying assumption that interviewing a particular selection of interviewees will lead to something approaching valid results!

The explanation of the reaction of the Irish is to be found IMHO in two simple realities only one of which is recognised by your interviewees, that of the safety valve of emigration.

The other is the softening of the blow of adjustment by the borrowing of an enormous sum of money at concessionary rates; mainly from our fellow members of the Euro Area.

The other two arguments advanced by your interviewees will not stand up to serious examination. If they do, the politicians reacting to what they think the electorate expects, and has expected since the crisis broke, can rest easy.

@Sam Maguire

… and your views on ‘US Intelligence’ (sic)?

@Seamus Power

Welcome to the desert of the real!

Comments are closed.