Irish Economy Conference: Learning from Crisis

Organised by ESRI, UCD, the Geary Institute, UL and the University of Stirling, the theme for this year’s conference is  “Learning from Crisis”. The venue is the Institute of Banking (map), North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 on  25th February 2015.

To cover costs of room hire and tea/coffee, there will be a charge  of 40 euros, and you can pay here. [[Please note, registration has now closed.]]

Students, unemployed, and OAPs can avail of a reduced rate of 10 euros, and can pay here. [[Please note, registration has now closed.]]

The Programme is below.


Registration: 8.30 – 9.15

Session 1         9:15 – 10:45

1A. Housing and Debt

Chair: John Hogan, Department of Finance

  • Ronan Doyle (PWC): “Recovery in the Irish Banking Market – Are we there yet?”
  • Kieran McQuinn (ESRI): “Deleveraging in a highly indebted property market: Who does it and are there implications for household consumption?”
  • Yvonne McCarthy (CBI): “Disentangling the mortgage arrears crisis: The role of the labour market, income volatility and housing equity”.

1A. Labour Market

Chair: Philip O’Connell (UCD, Geary)

  • Elish Kelly, Gillian Kingston, Helen Russell, Fran McGinnity (ESRI), “The Equality Impact of the Employment Crisis”.
  • Aedin Doris Donal O’Neill and Olive Sweetman (Maynooth), “’Wage Responses to the Great Recession”.
  • Seamus McGuinness and Adele Bergin (ESRI), “Over-education in Europe: Is there scope for a common policy approach?”

Coffee             10.45-11.15

Session 2         11:15 – 13.00 

2A. Demography

Chair: Liam Delaney (U. Stirling)

  • Irene Mosca (TCD) and Alan Barrett (TCD): “The Impact of Voluntary and Involuntary Retirement on Mental Health: Evidence from Older Irish Adults”
  • Tony Fahey (UCD):  “Family and Fertility in Ireland: a Human Capital Perspective’.
  • Micheál Collins (NERI): “Ireland’s Income Distribution, Pre-Distribution and Re-distribution: some observations”
  • Sanna Nivakoski (TCD) “The exchange motive in intergenerational transfers”

2B. Energy and Utilities

Chair: Ronan Gallagher, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

  • Lisa Ryan (UCD) “The rebound effects of energy efficiency policy – a new economic objective?”
  • Cathal Guiomard (DCU) “Avoiding Regulatory Capture”
  • Colm McCarthy: “IAG’s Bid for Aer Lingus: How Heathrow Slots Actually Work”
  • Jim Deegan (UL): “Taking Tourism Seriously for Future Economic Development”

Lunch Break    13.00 – 1:45

Session 3         1:45 – 3:15

3A. Inequality

Chair:  Jim Walsh, Department of Social Protection.

  • David Madden (UCD): “’Bridging the Gaps: Inequalities in Children’s Educational Outcomes in Ireland”
  • Darragh Flannery (UL): “An Investigation of Spatial and Social Inequalities in Higher Education Participation”
  • Christopher Whelan (Geary) Helen Russell (ESRI) and Bertrand Maître (ESRI) “Economic Stress & the Great Recession in Ireland: Polarization, Individualization or ‘Middle Class Squeeze’”?

3B. Financial Regulation

Chair: Stephen Kinsella (UL)

  • Lars Frisell (CBI): “The timing of macroprudential intervention: The Central Bank’s new LTV and LTI regulations”
  • Elaine Byrne (TCD) “ Veto Players and Relational Distance: Enforcement in Irish Financial Regulation”
  • Aidan Regan (UCD): “Taming Global Finance in an Age of Capital: Wage-Setting Institutions Mitigating Effects on Housing Bubbles”

Coffee             3:15 – 3:30

Session 4         3:30 – 5:00

4. Plenary: Economics after the Crisis

What have we learned from the Great Recession and the Irish crisis about the economy and about economics, economic models and policy?

Chair: Frances Ruane (ESRI)

  • Karl Whelan (UCD)
  • John McHale (NUIG)
  • Frank Barry (TCD)

By Stephen Kinsella

Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick.

5 replies on “Irish Economy Conference: Learning from Crisis”


What have we learned from the Great Recession and the Irish crisis about the economy and about economics, economic models and policy?

That Irish economists are good at understanding problems, or the demand side of future Irish economic policy making, . . . and not so good, at understanding, vast problems, in policy making, which have to do with the supply side of that equation.

What we have also learned, is there is no one around who is able, or prepared (hard to know which), to tell them. BOH.

Re: ‘Exit from Bailout Special’

Digital media editor at Irish Times newspaper, Hugh Linehan, in December 2013, hosted something akin to the above, in his podcast channel on the Irish Times website, which is still available there to listen to. His guests at his podcast channel, on that occasion did give extremely good contributions I thought, and the whole theme of their interaction, was similar to the one suggested in Stephen’s flyer overhead, for the February 2015 gathering.

Listening to the December 2013 Irish Times, ‘Exit from the Bailout Special’ podcast, one thing does strike the mind, of a reflective thinker. A contributor mentioned that he supported the idea of a local property tax (and its contribution, financially, into a local government, in Ireland).

What strikes one as strange, is that after, Ireland has been obliged to introduce something, say a local property tax, a large number of intelligent people ‘come out of the woodwork’, and admit to being fans of such policy. However, in advance of the introduction of things such as a local property tax, it isn’t even mentioned in a national debate of any kind. It’s buried deep underground, and invisible, inaudible.

What it does lead one, to think, about crises of various kinds, at various times, in Ireland, is that they do serve a purpose. Crises in Ireland, are the only means, by which the conditions needed, are produced, which provide opportunities to implement changes in how it’s society operates. In other words, the crisis in the economy, is required, in order so that things may happen, and things may be introduced, . . . but, done so, in a manner in which avoids, the discomfort of having to have ‘the conversation’, beforehand.

If there is one thing, in Ireland, which it has learned from the crisis, it is the fact that we don’t have a real political debate. In fact, we don’t have a conversation, at all, on very much. Things happen, and the various crises, provide the opportunities though which things are induced, to happen.

Sometimes it does go smoothly, as in the example of the local property tax, and many in Ireland afterwards, ‘come out’, and admit, to supporting it in spirit and in theory, all along. We had closet property tax fans, in Ireland, long before, we had property tax. Similarly, with Irish water, the crisis and the troica, had move along, before it had been introduced. ‘The window’ of opportunity, even though it had passed, the administration proceeded regardless, and as a consequence, it ran into much difficulty and resistance.

In summary, I am reminded of the words of U.S. supreme court justice Richard A. Posner, who offered a suggestion, that humans are monkeys with large brains. One can reflect upon this theory, and examine in the context of Ireland. It’s not that Ireland, is just unfortunate, in being an innocent by-stander, in one crisis after another. Ireland is also a place, which has learned, like the ‘clever monkey’, to turn crisis into opportunity, and exercise change by using that window.

But one wonders, in Ireland, if we could evolve past the point, of being highly intelligent fauna, if we could learn somehow to communicate with each other, in advance of the fact, instead of always doing our ‘chest thumping’, after the event (and in somewhat of the absence of speech), that it may just represent, the largest possible step forward, that Ireland, does need to make.

In other words, Ireland’s parliament may need to become, less about primate anthropology, and more about something else. BOH.

Just to say the sessions I attended were outstanding and though it a terrible shame I seemed to be the only meeja person there (if I missed anyone apologies). Lots of myth busting research. Well done all.

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