Future Funding of Higher Education Conference: Presentations Now Available

A conference on the Future Funding of Higher Education in Ireland was held in Maynooth University on Wednesday last. It was a very good day, with excellent speakers and great interaction between the audience and the speakers.

The presentations have now been posted online, and are available here.

Save the Date: September 30 Conference on Higher Education Funding in Maynooth

On Wednesday, September 30, we are holding a one-day conference on ‘Higher Education Funding: Drawing on the International Experience’ in Maynooth.

The context for this conference is the debate on how to fund higher education in Ireland. In 2014, the Minister for Education established an Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education, and the motivation for the conference is to inform the discussion about the choice of funding options available; we have a particular interest in the interaction between funding mechanisms and differential access to higher education along socioeconomic lines.

International speakers include Sara Goldrick-Rab of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who has written extensively on the issue of higher education funding in the US; Claire Crawford of Warwick University and the IFS, who has written several detailed analyses of the UK system; and Bruce Chapman of the Australian National University, whose name is particularly associated with income-contingent student loans, both in terms of his academic research and his role as policy advisor to many governments.

Local speakers include Rory O’Donnell of NESC and Delma Byrne of Maynooth University.

The conference will be open to all. I’ll post further details here in the coming weeks.

Update: Full details are now available here.

Labour Markets During Crises Conference

The Labour Economics Group at NUI Maynooth is hosting a one-day conference on Labour Markets During Crises on Wednesday, July 2 in Maynooth.

Olive Sweetman will be presenting our ongoing work on how the crisis has affected the Irish labour market, and we’ve got a great line-up of external speakers too: Torben Andersen from the University of Aarhus, Pedro Martins from Queen Mary College, University of London, Mike Elsby from the University of Edinburgh and Ignacio Garcia Perez from Seville’s Universidade Pablo de Olavide. Full details are available here.

As it says on the flyer, registration is free, but you should email me if you plan to attend.

Wage Flexibility in Ireland

Donal O’Neill, Olive Sweetman and I have been working on the issue of wage flexibility in Ireland, and have put our initial results into a working paper. Here’s the abstract:

There is considerable debate about the role of wage rigidity in explaining unemployment. Despite a large body of empirical work, no consensus has emerged on the extent of wage rigidity. Previous attempts to empirically examine wage rigidity have been hampered by small samples and measurement error. In this paper we examine nominal wage flexibility in Ireland both in the build up to, and during the Great Recession. The Irish case is particularly interesting because it has been one of the countries most affected by the crisis. Our main analysis is based on earnings data for the entire population of workers in Ireland taken from tax returns, which are free of reporting error. We find a substantial degree of downward wage flexibility in the pre-crisis period. We also observe a significant change in wage dynamics since the crisis began; the proportion of workers receiving wage cuts more than doubled and the proportion receiving wage freezes increased substantially. However, there is considerable heterogeneity in wage changes, with a significant proportion of workers continuing to receive pay rises at the same time as other were receiving pay cuts.

The full paper is linked here.

Edit on December 17: link changed to working link

The Costs of Working in Ireland Again

(This is a joint post with Donal O’Neill (NUIM) and Frank Walsh (UCD))

Because of the media storm last week about the Tol et al. paper on working costs, myself and a few colleagues (separately) decided to read the paper to see what all the fuss was about. We are all labour economists, used to using data on individuals, households and firms to address questions relevant to public policy issues. Our assessment of the paper is below.

The basic approach of the paper is as follows: it uses Household Budget Survey (HBS) data to examine the consumption patterns of different types of households. HBS data is collected at the household, rather than the individual level so the analysis distinguishes between households whose chief earner is employed and those whose chief earner is not employed. In particular, it examines the consumption patterns of these two household types under four headings: transport, childcare, heat & light, and takeaway food. To the extent that the amount spent by these households differ, the difference is designated a cost of working.

Continue reading “The Costs of Working in Ireland Again”

Tax Breaks for Job Creators

Stephen Collins reports that ‘project champions’ and their teams will be given large tax breaks to incentivize them to come to Ireland to set up projects that entail ‘new product development’.

Is this a good idea? Anyone know of any empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these types of tax breaks (assuming that they exist elsewhere)?