2019 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture – Philip Lane

Central Bank of Ireland Governor Philip Lane will deliver the 2019 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture, entitled Climate Change and the Financial System, at NUI Galway on Tuesday, 5 February. All sectors of the economy will be affected by climate change, whether through exposure to weather-related shocks or the economy-wide transition to low-carbon means of production and consumption. These structural changes will require considerable investment by households, firms and the government to retrofit buildings and switch to low-carbon production techniques and transportation methods.

The funding of this investment is just one of the challenges facing the financial system. In addition, it must cope with carbon-related market risks and credit risks, a reduction in the insurability of climate-vulnerable regions and activities and the tail risks of macroeconomic and financial instability. Given the scope and severity of these risks, addressing climate change is now high on the policy agendas of the central banking and regulatory communities. Accordingly, this lecture will outline the climate-related work agenda facing the Central Bank of Ireland.

The biennial public lecture is held in honour of Monsignor de Brún who served as University President from 1945 until 1959. The memorial lectures have been running since the 1960’s with Professor Stephen Hawking giving a lecture in 1994 on “Life in the Universe”.

The event is free and open to the public, however those who wish to attend must pre-register at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/climate-change-and-the-financial-system-tickets-54910693362?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

10 Years On – How Ireland has Changed Since the Financial Crisis – Highlights from the Conference

Videos of the keynote speeches by former Central Bank of Ireland governor Patrick Honohan and playwright and author Colin Murphy at last Friday’s conference at NUI Galway to mark the 1oth anniversary of the financial crisis can be found here on the website of the Whitaker Institute. I strongly recommend both. Audio podcasts of the two associated panel discussions will be posted shortly.

How (Not) To Do Public Policy: Water Charges and Local Property Tax

Jim O’Leary has an op-ed about the Local Property Tax  in today’s Irish Times, based on his recent report, How (Not) To Do Public Policy: Water Charges and Local Property Tax, published by the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway. The report was launched at a conference last month at NUI Galway featuring senior policymakers, public servants, academics and other experts who evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the policy-making process in Ireland with a view to suggesting how the quality of policy-making might be improved. Highlights from that conference, including videos of Jim’s presentation and Robert Watt’s keynote speech as well as audio of the panel sessions can be found here on the Whitaker Institute website.

10 Years On: How Ireland Has Changed Since the Financial Crisis

1:30pm, Friday, 28 September 2018

The Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building, NUI Galway

In the fateful decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the Bank Guarantee of September 2008, much has happened in Ireland – financial crisis, deep recession, bailout by the ‘Troika’, a protracted period of austerity followed by vigorous economic recovery. But what has really changed over the last ten years? What developments in the financial and political system have taken place and what has been the cultural effect of the crisis? Will we repeat the same mistakes or find ways to avoid them? A major public event convened by the Moore Institute and Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will examine these questions with a high profile group of participants, including keynote speeches by former Central Bank of Ireland governor Patrick Honohan and playwright and author Colin Murphy.

Conference Programme

14:00 – 14:05
Joint welcome
Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute
Daniel Carey, Director, Moore Institute

14:05 – 14:15
Opening remarks
Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, President, NUI Galway

14.15 – 14:35
Keynote speech
Patrick Honohan
former Governor, Central Bank of Ireland

14:35 – 15:35
Panel discussion
Chair: Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh

  • Angela Knight CBE, former Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association
  • John McHale, Dean, College of Business, Public Policy & Law, NUI Galway
  • Frances Ruane, former Director, Economic and Social Research Institute

15:35 – 16:00 Open discussion
16:00 – 16:20 Coffee break

16:20 – 16:40
Keynote speech
Colin Murphy
Playwright and author

Chair: Alan Ahearne

16:40 – 17:45
Panel discussion
Chair: Dan Carey

  • Stephen Collins, former Political Editor, Irish Times
  • Kate Kenny, Professor, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor in History, NUI Galway
  • Fiona Ross, Chair, CIÉ

17:45 – 18:00 Open discussion

This event will take place in the ILAS Building on the north of the NUI Galway campus from 1:30-6pm. A reception with light refreshments will follow the event.

The event is free and open to the public, however those who wish to attend must pre-register.

How (Not) To Do Public Policy

Conference and launch of new report on water charges and the local property tax

1:30pm, Thursday, 13 September 2018
Aula Maxima, The Quadrangle, NUI Galway

Why do some public policy measures succeed while others fail? Why, for example, has the Local Property Tax been a policy success, while the attempt to introduce water charges was a policy disaster? What can we learn from successful and failed policies about the policy-making process in Ireland and how to make that process more effective?

This conference will gather senior policymakers, public servants, academics, and other experts to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the policy-making process in Ireland with a view to suggesting how the quality of policy-making might be improved. Although much analytical attention has been paid to the effects of public policies in Ireland and to the macroeconomic context in which they are set, there has been very little analysis of the policy-making process: How policies are conceived, designed, implemented, communicated, and reviewed. This conference is an attempt to address this gap. View the conference programme here.

The conference will feature the launch of a new Whitaker Institute report by economist Jim O’Leary on water charges and the local property tax. This report, meticulously researched based on exceptional access to senior policymakers, looks back forensically at these two recent policy initiatives and explores what it was about the policy-making process in each case that contributed to success or failure.

This conference is aimed at a general audience and will appeal to anyone with an interest in how public policy is made in Ireland. The event is free and open to the public, however those who wish to attend must pre-register at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/how-not-to-do-public-policy-tickets-48552806752

Call for Papers – 6th Annual NERI Labour Market Conference – 22 May 2018

The sixth annual NERI Labour Market Conference will be held on Tuesday 22 May 2018 in association with NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change. The conference will run from 10:00am -16.15pm (followed by a reception until 16.45pm) and will include research papers on various aspects of the Irish labour market and Irish labour market policy. The NERI Labour Market Conference is intended to provide a forum for the presentation of research papers on labour market issues (North and South) and is held in May each year. Presentations from researchers, academics, policy makers and labour market practitioners are invited for this forthcoming conference. Those interested should submit a title and brief abstract (max 400 words) to tom.mcdonnell@nerinstitute.net Possible topics include but are not limited to any part of the following thematic areas:

  1. Employment, Unemployment and Labour Market Transitions (Migration, Age, Gender)
  2. Earnings, Labour Costs and Affordability
  3. Productivity, Growth and Human Capital
  4. Precariousness, Low Pay, Working Conditions and Job Quality
  5. Labour Market Participation and Activation, Demographics and Labour Supply
  6. Labour Market Institutions: Minimum/Living Wages, Collective Bargaining, Workplace Regimes
  7. Distribution and Labour Market Inequalities, Fiscal Policy and the Labour Market
  8. Pensions and Pensions Policy

Registration The conference is open to all who are interested and is free to attend. However, you must register your intention to attend the conference by contacting info@nerinstitute.net

Key Dates

Submission Deadline: 13 April 2018 (Friday)

Notification of Acceptance: 24 April 2018 (Tuesday)

Registration Deadline: 18 May 2018 (Friday)

Conference Date: 22 May 2018 (Tuesday)

Contact: tom.mcdonnell@nerinstitute.net

100 Years of T.K. Whitaker

Establishment of Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway Photograph by Aengus McMahon

T.K. Whitaker, voted the Irishman of the 20th Century, is widely regarded as the architect of modern Ireland. A brilliant and dedicated public servant, his seminal 1958 blueprint for economic development transformed the Irish economy and set the course for an open Ireland to prosper in a globalised world. Dr Whitaker also played a pivotal role in the search for peace in Northern Ireland, and in the modernisation of Ireland’s public sector.

Today marks a very special occasion as we honour and pay tribute to 100 years of T.K. Whitaker. In today’s Irish Times, I write about why Whitaker’s work is as relevant as ever to today’s Ireland. And at the Whitaker Institute, leading academics speak about Whitaker’s legacy. And there is this great video from the Central Bank of Ireland celebrating 100 years of Whitaker. Breithlá Sona!

 

 

 

 

Lecturer, Below the Bar, Economics (Natural Resource Economics and Policy)

The J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway wishes to appoint a person to the post of Lecturer Below the Bar, Economics (Natural Resource Economics and Policy), Contract Type B. The position will commence on 1 September 2016. Candidates should normally hold a PhD in economics or equivalent and demonstrate a record of publishing in peer reviewed journals, the capacity to secure research funding, and the ability to teach and supervise at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Whilst not limited to these areas, we particularly encourage applications from those with interests in agriculture and agri-food, environmental economics, marine economics, and sustainable energy and development.

The J.E. Cairnes School is home to the Whitaker Institute. The successful candidate will contribute to already successful research clusters within the Whitaker Institute, notably the Socioeconomic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) and the Centre for Environment, Sustainability and Development (CEDS). Through these clusters, the School already has strong links with Teagasc, the Marine Institute, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The successful candidate will be expected to strengthen these relationships and enhance the School’s existing comparative advantage in the area of economic evaluation. The School is already a leader in the economics of evaluation in both the natural resource/environment and health/ageing areas.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 17:00 (GMT) on Thursday, 21st January 2016.  It will not be possible to consider applications received after the closing date.

For more information and Application Form please see website:  http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/jobs/ Applications should be submitted online.

The Future of Banking in Europe Conference

The Institute of International and European Affairs will host a conference in the Convention Centre Dublin on Monday, 2 December that will feature a series of keynote addresses and panel discussions to consider the rapidly changing banking environment in the context of the proposals for a banking union in Europe. The implications of these developments, including what they mean for the future of the euro, the management of financial crises in the Eurozone and the likely impact on businesses and individual consumers, will also be addressed. Additional details can be found here.

JP Morgan says Irish position strong

Business World and RTE are reporting on a new research note from JP Morgan that gives Ireland a vote of confidence by telling clients not to bet on the state defaulting on its debt. The note describes Ireland’s financial position as “remarkably strong” despite the banking crisis and economic downturn. On the issue of banks’ bad loans, the analysts at JP Morgan are pencilling in a worst-case scenario of €27bn in write-offs over the coming years. Not trivial, but certainly manageable.

NCC’s Annual Competitiveness Report 2008

The Annual Competitiveness Report 2008 from the National Competitiveness Council was released today. Lots of interesting facts and figures, especially those relating to benchmarking Ireland’s competitiveness. A link to the report can be found here .

I am struck by the high energy costs in this country relative to our trading partners. The electricity bill at some large manufacturing plants here must be eye-popping.

Also, there is a welcome call for reform in sheltered services sectors such as the professions, where costs are high compared with those abroad. This is an issue that probably deserves more attention.

Ireland’s painful adjustment

After the benefits of EMU, now come the costs. I discuss economic adjustment mechanisms in EMU and what they mean for the near-term outlook for the Irish economy in a new EMU Monitor piece. You can find it here.

The main point is that recovery here depends on the so-called “competitiveness channel” working. For this mechanism to work properly, two things must happen. First, wage and price inflation have to ease to rates below those in our largest trading partners. That probably implies deflation in this country. Second, the improvement in competitiveness must affect trade performance.

The problem is that recovery will be complicated by the depressing effects of the “interest rate channel” of adjustment. Deflation implies high real interest rates, which will further depress domestic demand, assets prices, and the property market.

VAT Cut Won’t Halt Cross-Border Shopping

This website got a plug today in Alan Ahearne’s “Short View” column in the Sunday Independent. The article asked whether the Government should heed calls for a fiscal stimulus plan for this country. Ahearne concludes that the answer is an unambiguous no.

Cuts in VAT rates, along the lines introduced in the UK, would do little to bolster economic activity in this country. Part of the tax cut may not be passed on to consumers. Moreover, a substantial chunk of Irish households’ spending is on imported goods. Increased spending on imports provides only limited support to our economy. The bang for the buck from a VAT cut is small in an open economy like ours because much of the impulse leaks out through higher imports.

A stimulus proposal might be effective at boosting transactions if it were huge. But the country can’t afford such a plan. Claims that a VAT cut could be self-financing are baseless. The Dept. of Finance estimate that the 0.5 percentage point hike in the standard VAT rate in Budget 2009 will raise €220 million. A crude extrapolation would suggest that slashing VAT to the UK rate of 15 per cent would add another €3 billion to the State’s already enormous borrowing requirement. As argued previously on this website under the post “On Deficits and Debts” (3 December), there’s a limit as to how much the Government can comfortably borrow on international markets.

A cut in VAT would also likely do little to stem the flow of shoppers across the border with Northern Ireland. Price differentials between the Republic and the North largely reflect the weakness of sterling and differences in business costs.  A fiscal stimulus won’t solve these problems. A focus on improved competitiveness and realistic wage-setting would be much more valuable. Meanwhile, budgetary policy should aim at avoiding national bankruptcy.