The Royal Irish Academy Social Sciences Committee in association with the UCD College of Social Sciences and Law will be holding a conference on the topic Debating Austerity on October 29-30. The Keynote Lecture and conference will be held at the RIA building at 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2.
The Keynote Lecture will be given by Professor Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford University at 6pm, Thursday October 29 (lecture details below). The lecture will be chaired by Patrick Honohan, Governor, Central Bank of Ireland.
This will be followed on Friday, October 30 by a full day of sessions debating the experience of austerity in Ireland from a variety of perspectives.
Further information on the conference and registration details are available here. The admission price for the Keynote Lecture on Thursday evening is €5; admission to Friday’s conference is free.
Keynote Lecture: How to Avoid Austerity
Austerity may be defined as a large fiscal contraction that causes a substantial increase in unemployment. If the government has a budget deficit that is unsustainable, or a debt level that is too high, it is sometimes suggested that austerity is inevitable. For an economy with a flexible exchange rate and debt in its own currency, which includes the Eurozone as a whole, this is simply false. Fiscal contraction can always be delayed until monetary policy can offset the deflationary impact of any fiscal contraction. Unfortunately this is not true for a member of a currency union that requires a greater fiscal contraction than the union as a whole. Even in this case, however, a sharp and deep fiscal contraction will be an inefficient waste of resources. As the macroeconomic theory behind these propositions is simple and widely accepted, the interesting question about the current global austerity is why it has happened.
Simon Wren-Lewis is currently Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, having previously been a professor in the Economics Department at Oxford. He is also an Emeritus Fellow of Merton College. In September 2015 he was appointed to the British Labour Party’s Economic Advisory Committee.