Longfield Lecture in Economics, UCC – Oct 18th 2018, 6pm

Cork University Business School & Department of Economics

 is pleased to invite you to the

Second Annual Longfield Lecture in Economics


 Professor John Fitzgerald

Adjunct Professor of Economics, UCD and TCD

 The Phoenix and the Ashes – 60 years of Irish economic policy

 Thursday 18 October 2018

6.00pm

Venue: Kane Building, Room G02

 All are welcome


 About the speaker

Professor Fitzgerald is one of Ireland’s foremost economists. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in both TCD and UCD, having previously been a Research Professor in the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. He is a member of the Central Bank of Ireland Commission and he is Chairman of the Irish government’s Climate Change Advisory Council.

 About the lecture

Instead of ushering in a period of economic success, the first 40 years of independence saw a serious underperformance by the Irish economy. Ireland missed the free trade boat after the Second World War and, unlike the rest of Northern Europe from the Urals to Snowdonia, it did not invest in human capital.

Policy began to change in the 1960s. EU membership in 1973, and a steady commitment to developing a modern education system, eventually saw Ireland realise its economic potential.

Bad mistakes in fiscal policy in the late 1970s further delayed Ireland’s convergence to an EU standard of living. However, once the fiscal crisis was dealt with and the EU Single Market came into effect in 1993 Ireland grew very rapidly so that by the mid-2000s Ireland had a standard of living above that of the EU15.

Once again unwise fiscal policy, combined with a massive failure of financial regulation, saw Ireland face a major economic crisis in 2008. However, having got into this mess, policy makers made a very good job of extricating the country from the mire. Nonetheless this process was very painful, leaving a legacy of debt and damage to individual households.

The success of the Irish economy has been built on developing an extremely open economy, a sustained policy of investing in human capital, and a very open labour market. All of this has been underpinned by the multiple advantages conferred by EU membership.

Post Doctoral Researcher in Innovation Studies and Policy

May I draw your attention to the following post:Post Doctoral Researcher in Innovation Studies and Policy (funding for this position is expected to continue for 2 years) based at the University of Limerick, Ireland as part of a Science Foundation Ireland funded project under its Science Policy Research Programme.

 Led by Professor Helena Lenihan at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, this project on evaluating the impact of science and innovation policies on the economy and society comprises a team of international and national experts (including collaborators from Warwick Business School and the Enterprise Research Centre, ZEW in Germany, KU Leuven and Queen’s University, Belfast) and policymakers. 

 Salary Scale: €36,854-€42,603 per annum. 

 Deadline for Application: Friday 20th April 2018

A full description of the advertised position and application procedure is available here 

Maternity Care – A Cost Benefit Analysis

The Irish government has pledged to improve maternal choice by expanding midwifery-led care throughout the country. Earlier this year, I posted about an Irish study examining women’s preferences for maternity care and subsequent motivations when choosing place of birth (Maternity Care – what do women want?). Since then, the cost-benefit analysis of midwifery- and consultant-led care in Ireland has been published in Applied Health Economics & Health Policy.

 

This is the first study to estimate the net benefit of consultant- and midwifery-led models of care using cost-benefit methodology and women’s preferences for maternity care, with the results arriving at a particularly useful juncture in Irish policy formulation. While both models of care are cost-beneficial for low-risk patients, the net benefit for consultant led-care is considerably smaller. This study demonstrates the demand for midwifery-led care in Ireland, which is currently provided in only two hospitals in the north-east of the country.  It also demonstrates potential cost-savings from providing midwifery-led care for low-risk women as an alternative to consultant-led care in hospitals across Ireland. It is important to note that consultant-led care is necessary for high-risk patients and is an important maternal choice for all maternity care patients.

 

This research was supported by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre of Ireland.

Quality, Innovation & Learning in Irish Manufacturing Firms

The successful management of change is crucial to firm survival and success. Many firms have responded to the challenges they face by incorporating quality-based strategies to their change management approach. A commitment to quality can drive firms to make significant improvements in profitability, productivity and competitiveness. A recent paper of mine, co-authored with Prof. Stephen Roper, Warwick Business School, examines the impact of introducing quality improvement methods (QIMs) on firm innovation in Irish manufacturing plants. Prior studies have been based on cross-sectional analysis making causality difficult to identify, and providing little information on the nature of the learning effects and lags involved in QIM adoption and its potential benefits for innovation. We ask whether, and over what period, the adoption of QIMs (e.g. ISO9000; Total Quality Management; and Quality Circles) impact on plants’ innovation success. Our empirical analysis reveals short-term disruptive and longer-term beneficial effects of QIMs on product innovation performance. In addition, the organic versus mechanistic nature of QIMs has some bearing on this temporal relationship. Empirical findings also highlight the role of complementarities and learning-by-using effects in shaping the quality–innovation relationship. The adoption of QIMs has significant implications for plants’ product innovation outputs, albeit with some time lags as internal routines are optimised. Quality improvement strategies and implementation plans need therefore to consider their innovation implications and any consequent impact on firm performance.

Full paper can be accessed here.

 

First Annual Longfield Lecture in Economics at UCC

Cork University Business School and the Department of Economics

 are pleased to invite you to the

First Annual Longfield Lecture in Economics:

Philippe Legrain, Senior Research Fellow, London School of Economics

 “Immigrants: Your country needs them”

Wednesday 22nd March 2017 at 5pm

Venue: Boole 3, UCC

All are welcome

Author’s Bio: Philippe Legrain is Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. He was formerly special adviser to the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, independent economic adviser to the President of the European Commission, and head of the team that provided him with strategic policy advice. He is the author of European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right, Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them, and Open World: The Truth about Globalisation. He is a frequent media commentator and contributor. You can get more information about Philippe at http://www.philippelegrain.com/

 The Longfield Lectures: The purpose of the annual lecture series is to invite eminent speakers to address contemporary economic issues for a general audience, to contribute positively to public discourse. This is an important mission for us as an institution and as academics, and all the more with current global and local challenges. The lecture is open to all. It is organised in association with the Economics Society.

The lecture series is named after one of Cork’s foremost economist, Samuel Mountiford Longfield (1802 -1884), who was born in Desert Serges, near Enniskeane, in West Cork. He was appointed the first Whately Professor of Political Economy at Trinity College Dublin in 1832. According to his entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica he “rivalled [David] Ricardo’s influence, especially Ricardo’s notion that value is determined by the labour required to provide a good or service”. Joseph Schumpeter claimed that Longfield provided “a reasonably complete and reasonably correct theory of distribution based upon the marginal productivity principle, not only the marginal cost principle”, which means Longfield was an early forerunner of marginalism. 

In addition, Longfield challenged the Malthusian idea that wages would remain stuck at a subsistence level and, optimistic about future economic growth, he presciently argued that innovation in agriculture would offset the effects of increased population. Longfield was actively engaged in policy advice and argued for the introduction of a Poor Law in Ireland that would be based along the lines of the 1834 English Poor Law. 

We are very happy to highlight the contribution of this Cork-born economist and celebrate his achievements in his native place. 

More information on Longfield is available at http://www.mruniversity.com/courses/great-economists-classical-economics-and-its-forerunners/mountifort-longfield,https://www.tcd.ie/Secretary/FellowsScholars/discourses/discourses/1982_A.A.%20Tait%20on%20M.%20Longfield.pdf,https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mountifort-Longfield, and https://www.jstor.org/stable/40607755?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

Maternity Care: What do women want?

In 2012, the Irish government outlined a strategic framework for reform of the health service. Ensuring patients are treated at the lowest level of complexity is a major tenet of this reform. Within the Irish health care system, maternity care remains heavily medicalised. Depending on obstetric risk, maternity care may be provided in one of two locations at hospital level: a consultant-led unit (CLU) or a midwifery-led unit (MLU). Care in a MLU is sparsely provided in Ireland, comprising as few as two units out of a total 21 maternity units. Given its potential for greater efficiencies of care and cost-savings for the state, there has been an increased interest to expand MLUs in Ireland. Yet, very little is known about women’s preferences for midwifery-led care, and whether they would utilise this service when presented with the choice of delivering in a CLU or MLU.

A recent study sought to involve women in the future planning of maternity care by investigating their preferences for care and subsequent motivations when choosing place of birth. It is the first qualitative study to explore women’s preferences for alternative models of maternity care in Ireland. Overall, the results suggest that women may prefer MLUs when co-located with existing CLUs. While safety concerns largely influenced women’s preferences, the results also suggest that women do not have a clear preference for either model of care, but rather a hybrid model of care which encompasses features of both consultant and midwifery-led care. This suggests that the DOMINO (Domiciliary Care In and Out of Hospital) scheme may be preferred by maternity users as it closely resembles the preferences revealed in this study.

The full paper has recently been published in Health Policy and can be accessed here. This study precedes a broader, quantitative exploration of demand for alternative models of maternity care. The results of which will inform policymakers on whether an expansion of midwifery-led care reflects demand and value for money.

I would like to acknowledge all my co-authors on this paper, in particular, Dr. Christopher Fawsitt who undertook this work as part of PhD dissertation, and Prof. Richard Greene, the clinical lead on this project. This research was supported by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre of Ireland.

Human Resource Practices & Innovation

Academics and policy-makers agree that innovation is of critical importance for business productivity and growth, explaining the substantial body of research in this area. There is broad consensus that factors, such as R&D spend, firm age, firm size, sector, ownership and location, influence innovation performance, with many studies finding evidence of these relationships in Irish firms. Recently, with my colleague Frank Crowley, I have begun to investigate the influence of human resource practices on innovation performance.

A crucial element in firms’ strategic decision-making is the identification and effective harnessing of complementarities between different managerial activities, optimising resource use. Using Irish workplace data, we investigate if human resource practices can benefit innovation, particularly when applied together. These practices are not generally introduced for the purpose of improving innovation outcomes, but we find some evidence of ‘unintended consequences’ for innovation. Our primary findings are that bundles of HR practices relating to performance management and appraisal, knowledge sharing and involvement, and empowerment in decision making all are positively associated with innovation in manufacturing and service firms, and bundles of flexible employment contracts practices positively influence innovation in service firms. The full paper will be published in the International Journal of Innovation Management