Nevin Institute: Quarterly Reports

The latest reports from the Nevin Institute are available here.

31 replies on “Nevin Institute: Quarterly Reports”

Did the Nevin Institute sacrifice a lot of their credibility with their report “How Much Tax Do People Really Pay?” or is that my mis-impression? I am not a public finance economist myself but some of the analysis in that report seemed very stretched. Not sure what service the institute can provide if they lose a reputation for credibility.


Feel free to read the paper on taxation here, any comments or methodological suggestions are most welcome:

I addressed many of the issues raised re the paper (they are for the most part addressed in the paper in any event) in a blog here:

A follow-up paper has looked at the distributive impacts of various indirect tax changes and that is here:

“Not sure what service the institute can provide if they lose a reputation for credibility.”
As if credibility matters to the public Gregory…

@ Gregory Connor

The answer would be yes IMHO were it not for the fact that the author defended his position – with the support, one assumes, of the Institute – in a very open manner. It seems to me that this constitutes the core issue when establishing credibility i.e. willingness to participate in free and frank debate.

@ All

Meanwhile, in Germany, Merkel’s room for political manouevre is narrowing rapidly. Any of the countries still under supervision being seen as slipping the traces is unlikely to get a friendly hearing in the event of trouble. However, try explaining that to the gaggle of insular politicians making the decisions in Ireland!


If you conduct your business in a manner that is not in line with best practise you should lose credibility, irrespective of whether or not you engage with the public. In that context, it is doubtful that NEI has much cred. They are spinning for the TUs

Likewise, if you release a document calling for a certain course of action without incorporating the latest information you also run the risk of losing credibility. It seems to me the IFAC has a case to answer here. The risk is that when they have somesthing substantive to say it will be ignored because they allegedly did not do their homework on this occasion.

“you conduct your business in a manner that is not in line with best practise you should lose credibility”

It really depends who you are, Tull. Accountants, auditors and other professionals mostly get away with it.


With very few exception nobody as any cred left. The public square is dominated by people who have their nose in the trough or aspire to insert nose into trough. Nobody speaks up for the 20% of households who are carrying this society on their backs.

“Nobody speaks up for the 20% of households who are carrying this society on their backs.”

How heroic.

@ All

In case anyone missed it! From the front page of the Irish Times today.

“Eoghan Murphy, Fine Gael TD for Dublin South-East, said the Dáil should explore whether a €2 billion adjustment was necessary as the council had suggested.

Speaking to The Irish Times earlier, Mr Murphy said it had been “worrying” to hear elected representatives dismiss the council’s advice so readily.

“We shouldn’t be afraid to have an open and detailed debate about the choices facing us as we enter the next phase of economic recovery,” he said.

“The fiscal advisory council was set up for a reason: to help separate the budgetary cycle from the political one, protecting our economy from short-termism and populist fiscal policies.”

The point the TD has courageously raised is the single most important test of governance facing the country. On past performance, the country will, once again, collectively fail it (especially under a Taoiseach who seems not to understand the point in the first place).

The Nevin Institute is, at least, making a stab at some of the issues raised. This is more than can be said of the economics profession in Ireland generally.

The accounts of Ireland Inc. cannot be that complicated!

You are one of the 20%, in fact you are probably in the top 5% so you are a true Stakanovite.

NERI has well established its credibility and the bona fides and quality of its analysis since its foundation. If you don’t agree, fine. But NERI gives you all the evidence to work with. Play the ball, not the man.

@ Michael Collins

The last time I consulted your blog, I was also able to read the comments to your paper on taxation. Any chance that these comments might also be made available?

Given that a yacht with €80m worth of cocaine has just been seized by the forces of the Irish navy, perhaps the adjustment required in the upcoming budget can be yet further reduced?

The fiscal council is in a difficult situation as it believes that sticking to the plan to have a final €2 billion adjustment is important for international credibility – despite knowing that there is no chance of that happening – but the more often Kenny thanks it for its “valued advice” but ignores it, the less credibility it has at home.

International plaudits in recent days for bold reforms were somewhat funny when the establishment of a fiscal council and legal services reform were two of the conditions in the 2010 bailout agreement.

Michael Noonan did the minimum necessary with a fiscal council that reports to himself.

In Australia, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) was established in 2012 with the role to inform the Parliament by providing independent and non-partisan analysis of the budget cycle, fiscal policy and the financial implications of proposals.

This is from a June 2014 report from the Australian Auditor-General:

“Since commencing operation in July 2012, the PBO has effectively undertaken its statutory role and is already well regarded as an authoritative, trusted and independent source of budgetary and fiscal policy analysis. The PBO has made a significant contribution to levelling the playing field for all parliamentarians. Stakeholders consulted during the course of this audit all agreed that, for the first time, all parliamentarians have access to independent policy costing and information request services during all periods of the parliamentary cycle. In addition, parliamentary and peer group stakeholders viewed the costings prepared by the PBO as being of high quality, and those involved in the costing process agreed that the PBO was professional to deal with. These stakeholders also agreed that the PBO’s work has improved the transparency around election commitments, and facilitated a more informed public debate about budgetary matters that has the potential to increase as the PBO releases further information and the public becomes better educated about these topics.”

Following an economic disaster, Michael Noonan, having sat impotent on the Opposition benches for years and with few years left in his own career, took the default conservative advice of the Dept of Finance.

At least Parliament should debate the wisdom or not of budget proposals before decisions are taken.

Do you think that the FC damaged its own credibility by producing a policy proposal based on out of data information? Economics has to learn that if it wants to have an input into public policy it has to up its game and produce proposals based on timely and accurate information.

Your other point is valid as is Eoghan Murphy’s. iFAC should report to a Dail Committee and their report should have gone their first for discussion.

Off topic but all part of the same system

“The Dáil and Seanad are expected to debate the finalised terms of reference for the banking inquiry next month after the 11-member committee signed off on its proposed scope yesterday.

A number of additional amendments put forward by members were accepted by the whole committee yesterday, including one on the role of the media and another focusing on the European Central Bank.

The inquiry will examine the period from 1992 to 2013, and will be broken into four modules: context; banking systems and practices; regulatory and supervisory systems and practices; and crisis management and policy responses. The final module will examine the bank guarantee, the establishment of Nama, bank nationalisation and recapitalisation, the bailout programme and the promissory notes.

The inquiry will also be entitled to call politicians, developers, bankers, auditors and civil servants, as well as officials from the ECB.

Earlier this week, ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank’s governing council will discuss the question of Jean-Claude Trichet’s appearance before the banking inquiry in the coming months.

Newspaper editors and other media executives may be called to give evidence to the inquiry after the committee agreed alterations to its final terms of reference.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins requested that an amendment be made to the inquiry’s final submission on what it will cover in its forthcoming investigation.

Mr Higgins’s amendment, accepted by the committee, requested the inquiry examine “the development of a prevailing consensus including the role of mass media and advertising and mortgage brokers, financial consultants and property development and sales companies”.”

@ Tullmcadoo

I’m very surprised that an assessment published days after the Q2 data didn’t take account of it.

On Monday I had glanced at the commentrary on the proposed Budget adjustment and hadn’t noticed that. The server is down this morning.

The IFAC now has its own chief economist and the CSO schedule is well flagged..

So it is damaging at the time when it needs to build its credibility.

I know this forecasting business is tough, and also that policy must cautiously be based on assumptions of lower growth than we actually want, but if this year’s growth is now understood likely to be 5% or a little more, why is the best forecast of next year’s growth only 3%? and then even less after that?

“Following an economic disaster, Michael Noonan, having sat impotent on the Opposition benches for years and with few years left in his own career, took the default conservative advice of the Dept of Finance.”

Do you mean “default conservative advice” as in what Noonan has done up to date? In which case, not looking such poor advice if in fact growth is back? or do you mean “default conservative advice” as to the likely upcoming budget? because I guess that the DoF would prefer a bigger adjustment than appears likely to be politically feasible.

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