Latest Issue of the Economic and Social Review

The Economic and Social Review has just published its latest issue (Vol 48, No 4, Winter 2017)

Introduction: 50 Years of Social Research at the ESRI
Helen Russell, Emer Smyth

Non-Monetary Indicators and Multiple Dimensions: The ESRI Approach to Poverty Measurement
Dorothy Watson, Christopher T. Whelan, Bertrand Maître, James Williams

Gender Equality in the Irish Labour Market 1966-2016: Unfinished Business?
Helen Russell, Frances McGinnity, Philip J. O’Connell

Out-of-School Social Activities among Immigrant-Origin Children Living in Ireland
Merike Darmody, Emer Smyth

An Irish Solution…? Questioning the Expansion of Special Classes in an Era of Inclusive Education
Joanne Banks, Selina McCoy

Policy Section Articles
Atypical Work and Ireland’s Labour Market Collapse and Recovery
Elish Kelly, Alan Barrett

Supporting Pension Contributions Through the Tax System: Outcomes, Costs and Examining Reform
Micheál L. Collins, Gerard Hughes

A Portfolio Approach to Assessing an Auto-Enrolment Pension Scheme for Ireland
Liam A. Gallagher, Fionnuala Ryan

By John Cullinan

John Cullinan is Professor in Economics at University of Galway. He is an applied economist with research interests in health, disability and higher education.

5 replies on “Latest Issue of the Economic and Social Review”

Why is there nothing about the housing shortage? This is arguably Ireland’s most serious economic and social problem. Economists generally have been remarkably silent on the topic. Is it guilt because of the part played by some economists (one in particular) in running down Ireland’s previously-high new house construction levels to recent very low levels.

Take it easy, John. There is no benefit to the vast majority of economists or to the wider society if they were to get stuck in to this. The economic and policy solutions have been clear for a long time – and a number of economists with knowledge and competence in the area have made them clear. But there is no political will to tackle the problem as too many of the powerful, wealthy and influential would be affected adversely. There are dozens of these policy problems that stick out like sore thumbs and that have relatively straight forward solutions which have been frequently highlighted by economists, but varying combinations or coalitions of the powerful, wealthy and influential have conspired to ensure none of the obvious policy solutions are implemented.

Much of the research presented in the ESR covers the highly valuable and diverse analyses that provide evidence-based, useful, incremental changes in the design, targetting and implementation of public policy and administration. It tends to be low level and specific and mainly of interest to practitioners in specific areas – and generally as a result does not provoke the ire of the powerful, wealthy and influential. It is very important and valuable work and we are very fortunate that we have numerous competent professionals working in these areas. The numerous small incremental changes they advance cumulatively have a major beneficial impact on the quality of life.

My beef tends to be with the high profile practitioners, commentators, opinion-formers and the media organs they rely on. However, Upton Sinclair’s aphorism will never lose its relevance.

FG now in power for 80 months. Number of new house completions in those 80 months: 79,231. Number of new house completions in last 80 months of FF Government: 387,120 – almost 5 times as many. Yet FF were subject to far more vilification and abuse by the media and economists for building those houses than FG have been for not building them.

I don’t see the point of auto enrolment pensions at the moment. Neoliberalism is incoherent. 99% of people see their incomes stagnate. Bonds and equities are hopelessly overvalued. The ultra rich own more than half of everything. The time value of money is suspended. Pension funds are managed as if business is usual. They will be wiped out in the nexr crash just as the NPF was wiped out

Re: Special Classes in an Era of Inclusive Education

I know something of this area as Mrs E works in the area of special needs. While the keeping of students with learning disabilities or special needs is laudable in theory, perhaps a more relevant research question is to what extent does the inclusion of such students in mainstream classes drag down the educational attainment of other students? Has this ever been researched? Mrs E’s experience is that much of the teacher’s time and effort can be diverted to the students with special needs to the detriment of the majority of students in the class thus dragging down everyone’s educational attainment.

One of my children in primary school needs a bit of help with English reading and comprehension and I am delighted that he and a few others in the class are taken out of the class for short periods during the week to get this extra help and assistance. This is perhaps a third model that has not been considered i.e. students taken out of the mainstream class for short periods for additional tuition in certain subjects. My son doesn’t feel any stigma and I as a parent am delighted he is getting additional resources with the aim of bringing him up to mainstream level in this one area.

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