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CSO assessment of Occupations with Potential Exposure to COVID-19

Guest post by Reamonn Lydon (Central Bank).

[Disclaimer: this blog post represents my personal views and not those of the Central Bank of Ireland or the European System of Central Banks]

The CSO has just released an experimental analysis of Occupations with Potential Exposure to COVID-19. This is useful data for anyone who wants to understand how the Covid-19 shock interacts with the structure and composition of employment.  It provides important information on which sorts of occupations and workers have been most directly affected by the restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.

Using O*NET data on the task-related content of four-digit occupations, the CSO construct an Proximity index and an Exposure to diseases index.  Here, I focus on the proximity index, although a similar analysis of the Exposure index would also be of interest.

Quoting from the background notes:

In the O*NET data “Respondents score their job on a scale of one to five where, for proximity, one indicates that the respondent does not work near other people (beyond 100 feet) while five indicates that they are very close to others (near touching) … The data is harmonised on a scale ranging from 0 to 100 by using the following equation: S = ((O-L)/(H-L)) * 100 where S is the standardised score, O the original rating score between one and five, L the lowest possible score (one) and H the highest possible score (five). Under this new classification, the standardised physical proximity measure is defined by:

0 –     I do not work near other people (beyond 100 ft.)

25 –   I work with others but not closely (for example, private office)

50 –   Slightly close (for example, shared office)

75 –   Moderately close (at arm’s length)

100 – Very close (near touching)”

The CSO has constructed a proximity score for 296 four-digit SOC10 occupations. Crucially, it then maps these to total employment, percentage female, over-55 and non-Irish using Census 2016.

Using employment weights, the median proximity score for all workers is 57.6; the mean is 61.8. The four digit occupation at the median is Sales related occupations not elsewhere classified. The lowest scoring occupation (least proximate) is Artists (21.5); the highest scoring is Paramedics (97).

The chart below shows the cumulative share of employment (y-axis) by proximity score (x-axis) for the characteristics provided by the CSO. The variation across charactistics is striking: female workers are more likely to be in ‘lower proximity jobs’, almost 60 per cent are below the median score for all workers. It is hard to pin-point a single occupation that contributes to this result for females, but a relatively higher concentration in occupations like Chartered and certified accountants, Cleaners and domestics and Administrative Occupations do stand out.  By contrast, male, younger and non-Irish workers are all more likely to be in high-proximity jobs, with just 40 per cent below the median.  The relatively higher share of younger workers on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) – 41 per cent of under-25s are on PUP currently, compared with 21 per cent of over-25s – tallies with the observation that more of these workers tend to be in higher proximity occupations, and therefore more impacted by the Covid-related restrictions.


Chart 1: Cumulative share of employment by proximity score.
Source: Own calculations using CSO 2020.

For those groups with a greater concentration in high-proximity jobs – that is, male, younger and non-Irish – there is a step-jump around 70. In terms of the occupations arround this jump, for males it includes sports and leisure activities, skilled trades, constrction and protective services. For non-Irish nationals, who make up around 15% of employment (in the 2016 data, it is closer to 20% now) it is a broadly similar set of jobs, but also including a range of food services occupations.  

Finally, the CSO has also published the median annual earnings by occupation. Chart 2 shows the average of median annual earnings by occupation for each quartile of the proximty score distribution (weighted by employment). Higher proximity occupations tend to lower paid.  For example, in the top 25 per cent of jobs by proximity score (which also happens to be a score at 75 or above), the average of earnings per occupation is around €33,500 (in 2016). The average for the bottom 25 per cent occupations (a proximity score of around 49) is €42,300.  When we control for all characteristics such as female, share of over-55s and non-Irish by population, we find that going from the least proximate quartile score (49) to the most proximate quartile score (75) is associated with earnings being around 20 per cent lower on average.

Chart 2: Earnings by proximity score
Source: Own calculations using CSO 2020.

Conclusions

Information on the task-related content of occupation is vital for understanding which sort of jobs are affected by the social distancing restrictions put in place to fight the Covid pandemic.  Similar work in Adrjan and Lydon (2020) shows how countries with a higher concentration of ‘high-proximty’ employment experienced a larger negative shock to labour demand when the crisis first hit. This includes Ireland. Analysing the occupational breakdown from the CSO highlights that younger, male and non-Irish workers are more concentrated in ‘high proximity roles’. These roles are also lower paid on average. This provides crucial insight into who is most affected by the Covid shock, and what sort of policies might be put in place to help certain groups of workers.

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131st Barrington Medal, 2020/2021

Call for entrants

The Barrington Medal is awarded annually by the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, under the auspices of the Barrington Trust (founded in 1836 by the bequest of John Barrington). The award, which includes both a silver medal and €1,000, is intended to recognise a promising new researcher in the economic and social sciences in Ireland. This will be the 172nd anniversary of the lecture series and the recipient will be the 131st Barrington Lecturer. Recipients in the past 35 years include:

Deirdre McHugh Don Thornhill George Lee Alan Joyce Daniel McCoy
Brian Lucey Kevin H. O’Rourke Siobhan Lucey Mary Walsh Philip Lane
Aidan Kane Donal O’Neill Peter Clinch Colm Harmon Ronnie O’Toole
Cathal O’Donoghue Paul McNicholas Mary Keeney Liam Delaney Martina Lawless
Cal Muckley Orla Doyle Yvonne McCarthy Ronan Lyons Mark McGovern
Rebecca Stuart Karina Doorley Daragh Clancy Barra Roantree  

The lecture should be based on a paper of not more than 7,500 words addressing a topic of relevance to economic or social policy and of current interest in Ireland. In treating the issue of economic or social policy, the paper may either report the findings of a statistical research study dealing with some aspect of the problem or deal with the underlying theoretical considerations involved, or preferably combine these two approaches. It should be written in a manner that makes it accessible to non-specialists in the area. More technical material may be included in an appendix. The paper is published in the Journal of the Society, so it should not have been published before, nor should it be published subsequently without the prior consent of the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. Candidates, who at the time of their submission must be not more than 35 years of age, should at least submit a detailed abstract of approximately 1,000 words on the proposed lecture, with preference being given to full papers. A short CV and the name of a proposer who is familiar with their work should also be submitted.

Entries will be accepted from 1st June to 31st August 2020 and should be sent to the Honorary Secretaries of the Society, via email, using the email address secretary@ssisi.ie.

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Travel and Tourism in a Post Covid Society – TRiSS Summer Series

Trinity Research in Social Science (TRiSS), in partnership with its member schools and disciplines, is organising a weekly series of online events, over the summer, on how covid19 will change society. Each week, experts from Trinity and other leading institutions around the world will be bringing their insights on how covid19 is likely to change our lives – from corporate power and climate change to civil liberties and the future of tourism & travel.

The second event – “Travel and Tourism in a Post Covid Society” – takes place on May 26th at 11am (Irish Standard Time) and is co-hosted with the Trinity Business School. As one of the world’s biggest industries, the tourism sector is facing massive repercussions from the Covid health crisis and the associated lockdown measures. Not only is it one of the hardest hit sectors, it could be the one slowest to recover from the upcoming economic recession. This timely discussion features a range of international experts.

Attendance is free but requires registration via Eventbrite. The webinar will last 75 minutes, with three 15-minute presentations and a moderated discussion afterwards. Participants include:

  • Brian Lucey from Trinity College
  • Denise O’Leary from Technological University Dublin
  • Brent Ritchie from the University of Queensland
  • Jane Ali-Knight from Edinburgh Napier University

Denise O’Leary is Assistant Head of School of Hospitality Management and Tourism in Technological University Dublin. She has extensive experience as a manager, lecturer and researcher in third level institutions in Ireland and the US and over 10 years of experience as a consultant in the private sector. One focus of her academic research is on collaboration at both an organisational and inter-organisational level and she explores collaboration in networks, including food tourism networks. She is also interested in tourism skills development. She is currently involved in the Next Tourism Generation Alliance project, an EU funded project which includes education, training and industry partners from across Europe and is tasked with developing a Blueprint for addressing skills needs in the European tourism sector.

Ritchie Brent has coordinated several research projects including Sustainable Tourism CRC and consultancy work for a number of tourism organisations in the public and private sector in Australia, England, Vietnam and New Zealand. His research interests are associated with tourism risk management. His research has focused on understanding risk from an individual and organisational perspective. His work on organisations explores risk attitudes and response strategies to effectively respond and recover from crises and disasters. He also explores tourist attitudes to risk and their risk reduction behaviour, including beach goers, Australian outbound travellers and potential travellers to the Middle East and in Indonesia.

Jane Ali-Knight is currently leading and developing the festival and event subject group as well as lecturing at Universities internationally and facilitating training and development in the field. She is Course Director of the highly successful ‘Destination Leaders Programme’ delivered with Scottish Enterprise. Her core activities fall into three main areas: event and festival related programmes; research and publications and conferences and professional events. She is currently a board member of BAFA (British Arts and Festivals Association); Without Walls; Women in Tourism; Hidden Door Festival and is a Fellow of the HEA and Royal Society of the Arts.

Chairing the session will be Brian Lucey. He is Professor of Finance at the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin. A graduate of TCD with a First Class degree in Economics in 1984, Professor Lucey has worked as a statistician in the Department of Health and as an Economist in the Central Bank, prior to joining TCD. He has studied at graduate level in Canada, Ireland and Scotland, and holds a PhD from University of Stirling.

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Covid19 and a Changing Society – TRiSS summer series

Trinity Research in Social Science (TRiSS), in partnership with its member schools and disciplines, is organising a weekly series of online events, over the summer, on how covid19 will change society. Each week, experts from Trinity and other leading institutions around the world will be bringing their insights on how covid19 is likely to change our lives – from corporate power and climate change to civil liberties and the future of tourism & travel.

The first event – “COVID-19 and the Future of Cities” – takes place on May 18th at 3pm Irish Standard Time and is co-hosted with the Department of Economics at Trinity College Dublin. Attendance is free but requires registration via Eventbrite. The webinar will last 75 minutes, with three 15-minute presentations and a moderated discussion afterwards. Participants include:

  • Prof. Edward Glaeser, Harvard University
  • Prof. Jessie Handbury, University of Pennsylvania
  • Prof. Diego Puga, CEMFI
  • Prof. Martina Kirchberger, Trinity College Dublin, as chair

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He has published dozens of papers on cities economic growth, law, and economics. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992. Some of his recent work examines how COVID-19 has affected small businesses.

Jessie Handbury is an Assistant Professor of Real Estate at the Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her BA and PhD at Columbia University and was selected as a NBER Faculty Research Fellow, International Trade and Investment. Her research interests lie at the intersection of urban economics, trade, and industrial organization. She has developed an exposure index based on smartphone app location data to help analysis during the current pandemic.

Martina Kirchberger is an Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin. She is a development economist with a particular interest in urbanization, infrastructure, the construction sector, labor markets, and spatial mobility. Previously, she was an Earth Institute Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University. She received her DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford in 2014. Some of her ongoing research examines the labor market effects of COVID-19 on low-skilled urban workers.

Diego Puga is Professor of Economics at CEMFI, in Madrid, Spain. His research interests include urban economics, economic geography and international trade. Born in Spain, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Economics, he obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1997. He is member of the Multidisciplinary Workgroup advising the Spanish government on scientific issues related to COVID-19 and its future consequences.

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Understanding the Covid19 pandemic and its consequences [SSISI online event, May 21]

The Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland invites you to attend a special Symposium on the covid19 pandemic, at the seventh and final Ordinary Meeting of its 173rd session. The meeting takes place online, at 4.30pm on Thursday May 21st.

The theme for the special symposium is “Understanding the Covid19 pandemic and its consequences” and its aim is to provide views from a number of different perspectives on the covid19 pandemic and what it means for policymakers and wider society. The symposium will be chaired by Society President Danny McCoy and will comprise six short contributions of no more than ten minutes, followed by a general discussion:

  1. Catherine Comiskey (Trinity College Dublin), “The epidemiology of Covid-19: Learning from the past and modelling for the future”
  2. Jean Acheson (Revenue Commissioners), “The impact of covid19 on income and employment: early evidence from administrative data”
  3. Reamonn Lydon (Central Bank of Ireland), “Measuring the economic impact of covid19 in real time”
  4. Conor Lambe (Danske Bank), “Covid19 and the Northern Irish economy: initial insights”
  5. Shana Cohen (TASC), “What has Covid-19 told us about inequality in Ireland?”
  6. Gerard Brady (Ibec), “Business in a compressed economy”

We are hosting the Syposium on the Zoom platform, which allows logging in through the Zoom app, through a web browser or by phone. To attend the event, please register here on Eventbrite, and the specific details for attending will be sent to you by email on Tuesday May 19th and again on the day of the event.

As always, non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion. Given the format, you are encouraged to circulate this link to others who may be interested so that they may also register their interest and attend on the day.

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Science-Policy Interfaces and the Environment [SSISI online talk, April 23]

The Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland invites you to attend the sixth Ordinary Meeting of the 173rd session. The meeting takes place online, at 5pm on Thursday April 23rd, and is the Society’s annual Symposium.

This year’s Symposium is entitled “Science-Policy Interfaces and the Environment” and assesses the power of science to understand and navigate the relationships among the social, environmental and economic objectives of sustainable development, with the view to strengthening the Science-Policy Interfaces on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Environment targets, with a special focus on Ireland.

The Symposium will be chaired by Danny McCoy (the Society’s President and CEO of IBEC) and contain three papers:

  1. The Future is Now: The Science-Policy Interface for achieving Sustainable Development, by Astra Bonini, UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs
  2. Developing solutions and informing Irish policymakers acros the pillars of Climate, Water & Sustainability, by Dorothy Stewart, Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Benchmarking Ireland’s performance on Environmental SDG targets for policy-making, by Patrick Paul Walsh, UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy (and an Honorary Secretary of the Society)

Following feedback from our last Ordinary Meeting, we are hosting the Syposium on the Zoom platform, which allows logging in through the Zoom app, through a web browser or by phone. To attend the event, please register here, on Eventbrite, and the specific details for attending will be sent to you by email on Tuesday April 21st and again on the day of the event.

As always, non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion and, given the new format, feel free to circulate this to others who may be interested so that they may also register their interest and attend on the day.

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The Northern Ireland Economy: Problems & Prospects [SSISI online talk, April 9]

The Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland is holding its fifth Ordinary Meeting of the 173rd session, where a presentation entitled “The Northern Ireland Economy: Problems and Prospects” will be given by John Fitzgerald (Trinity College Dublin & Economic & Social Research Institute) and Edgar Morgenroth (Dublin City University).

Given the measures taken to address the covid19 epidemic, this meeting will take place online, using Microsoft Teams. The talk will take place on Thursday 9th April 2020 at 4.30pm, with the vote of thanks led by Esmond Birnie (University of Ulster).

Abstract: This paper considers the lacklustre performance of the Northern Ireland economy in recent decades, in particular the very low productivity growth. The low level of human capital and the continued low levels of investment account for much of this poor performance. To address its economic weakness, Northern Ireland needs to reallocate resources to investment in physical and human capital over a sustained period. To date, large transfers from central government have ensured that the standard of living in Northern Ireland is close to the UK average and above that of Ireland, in spite of its weak economy. However, the dependence of Northern Ireland on these transfers leaves it very vulnerable to shocks. Because of Northern Ireland’s dependence on transfers and its weak economic structure, Irish unification, however it was handled, would be likely to be very expensive for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In order to allow the Society to plan the meeting effectively, if you are interested in attending, please register via Eventbrite. As always, non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

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DEW 2020 Annual Economic Policy Conference: save the date & call for papers

Founded in 1977, the Dublin Economics Workshop (DEW) Annual Economic Policy Conference is Ireland’s longest standing and premier forum for economic policy debate. Attended by policymakers, academics and practitioners, it aims to provide an opportunity for evidence-based policy debate and discussion. The 43rd DEW Annual Economic Policy Conference will take place on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th September 2020 in Clayton Whites Hotel, County Wexford.

The Committee would like to invite those interested in presenting at the conference to submit a paper or proposal to sarah@dublineconomics.com by Friday 27th March. Papers and proposals on the following topics are especially welcomed:

  • Housing
  • The health system
  • Income inequality and poverty
  • International corporation tax reform
  • Competitiveness
  • The Future of EU and UK relations

All submissions will be treated fairly but cannot be guaranteed to be accepted for inclusion.
Barra Roantree (Economic and Social Research Institute), on behalf of the DEW Committee

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Low Pay Commission Research Bursaries

The Low Pay Commission of Ireland is seeking applications for two Research Bursaries of €25,000 each. The purpose of these bursaries is to provide more knowledge and information in relation to low pay and labour market economics in Ireland. More information is available here and is summarised below.

  • Applicants must be either full-time researchers or Ph.D students with a supervisor with expertise in the relevant area.
  • Research proposals must be on topics related to low pay in Ireland or related topics where the research would have a bearing on the issues which the Commission is obliged to consider in its terms of reference (available at the link).
  • The recipient of the bursary would commit to producing a substantial piece of research, completed with a year of 27th March 2020 (the date at which approvals will be known), which should be of a standard that it could be publishable in a good peer reviewed social science or economic journal. The recipient would be expected to provide a progress report on the work within 6 months and to supply a finished research paper which would be presented in a public seminar within a year of receiving the bursary.
  • While the research bursaries will be for one year, we are hopeful that this scheme will run in future years. If this is so, researchers who are engaged in projects that last longer than a year will be free to reapply for continuing funding.

Applicants should send a completed application form (available at the link) as well as a C.V to secretarylpc@welfare.ie by 28th February 2020. (Ph.D student applicants should also send their supervisor’s CV, as well as a letter from their supervisor supporting their application, confirming that they are supervising the applicant and outlining how the project would be supervised over the period of the bursary.)

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Irish Economic Association Annual Conference 2020

A message on behalf of my Trinity Economics colleagues, Carol, Davide and Michael, who are organising this year’s Irish Economics Association conference [RL]

The 34th Annual Irish Economic Association Conference will be held in Trinity College Dublin on Thursday, May 7th and Friday, May 8th, 2020.

The keynote speakers will be Prof. Hélène Rey, Professor of Economics at the London Business School, and Prof. Ulrike Malmendier, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Association invites submissions of papers to be considered for the conference programme. Preference will be given to submissions that include a full paper. Papers may be on any area in Economics, Finance and Econometrics.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 14th of February 2020 and submissions can be made through this site. Kindly note that there will be no extension to this deadline this year.

More information is available at the iea.ie website: http://www.iea.ie/2020-iea-annual-conference/

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Review of Irish Government Tax Forecasting

The Department of Finance has published a detailed review of its approach to tax forecasting, its first such review since 2008. These are periodic exercises undertaken to assess the methodology and accuracy of forecasts. Especially in the context of on-going debate about the sustainability of various tax headings, it will no doubt be relevant for those with an interest in public policy, macroeconomics, forecasting and tax.

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Modelling Recent Developments in Corporation Tax

For those interested in fiscal issues and tax modelling/forecasting, two economists in the Department of Finance, Gerard McGuinness and Diarmaid Smyth, have just published a working paper looking at Corporation Tax.

The paper uses both micro- and macro-economic perspectives and focuses on the marked rise in CT receipts and corporate profitability since 2014 is highlighted.

The paper is available from this link.

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DEW 2019 Conference – deadline

This year’s Dublin Economics Workshop (DEW) Economic Policy Conference, sponsored by Dublin Chamber, takes place in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford on 13/14h September 2019.

The programme is available at this link. All bookings can be made via the website, www.dublineconomics.com, with special all-in fee packages available, which include 2 nights bed & breakfast and the gala dinner on Friday. Due to the large demand for accommodation, the booking system will be closing soon, please book now to avoid disappointment.

The line-up this year includes the Cantillon Lecture by Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and the William Petty address, by Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist with the IIEA. There are also sessions on the Euro at 20, on small open economies in a changing world, and Ireland’s labour market, healthcare and housing systems, as well as a session on sustainability, featuring Dermot Nolan, the Chief Executive of Ofgem.

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Annual Report on Public Debt in Ireland 2019

The Department of Finance has published is third annual report on public debt, the aim of which is to provide a comprehensive analysis of public debt dynamics in Ireland. Aside from highlighting the main changes in public debt over the past year, this report introduces several new analytical pieces focusing on broader aspects of government debt, including the State’s balance sheet and several sustainability indicators. This is likely to be useful for students, as well as those with an interest in macroeconomics and the public finances.

You can find the report here.

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Dublin Economics Workshop – 2019 conference

The details for the 42nd annual Dublin Economics Workshop (DEW) Economic Policy Conference are now live. The conference, which is sponsored by Dublin Chamber, takes place in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford on 13/14th September 2019. Further details, including the programme and booking details, can be found at the DEW’s new website.

The line-up this year includes: Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist with the IIEA and Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive at Ofgem. The conference covers a number of important topics this year, including the 20th Anniversary of the Euro, sustainability, housing and the labour market.

As well as a new website, with an improved booking facility, there are a number of other improvements to the conference, based on feedback received in previous years. This includes a more spacious room within the hotel and a gala dinner on the Friday night.

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130th Barrington Medal, 2019/2020

Call for Submissions

The Barrington Medal is awarded annually by the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland under the auspices of the Barrington Trust (founded in 1836 by the bequest of John Barrington). The award, which includes both a silver medal and €1,000, is intended to recognise a promising new researcher in the economic and social sciences in Ireland. This will be the 171st anniversary of the lecture series and the recipient will be the 130th Barrington Lecturer. A list of recipients over the past 35 years is included in the attached call for submissions.

The lecture should be based on a paper of not more than 7,500 words addressing a topic of relevance to economic or social policy and of current interest in Ireland. In treating the issue of economic or social policy, the paper may either report the findings of a statistical research study dealing with some aspect of the problem or deal with the underlying theoretical considerations involved, or preferably combine these two approaches. It should be written in a manner that makes it accessible to non-specialists in the area. More technical material may be included in an appendix. The paper is published in the Journal of the Society, so it should not have been published before (nor should it be published subsequently without the prior consent of the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland).

Candidates, who at the time of their submission must be not more than 35 years of age, should at least submit a detailed abstract of approximately 1,000 words on the proposed lecture, with preference being given to full papers. A short CV and the name of a proposer who is familiar with their work should also be submitted. Entries will be accepted until 31st August, 2019 and should be sent to the Honorary Secretaries of the Society via email, using the email address secretary@ssisi.ie.

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SSISI AGM & Presidential Address

The Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland [ssisi.ie]

The Annual General Meeting of 172nd session of the Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland will take place at 5.30pm, on Thursday, May 23rd, at the Institute of International & European Affairs, 8 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1. The agenda for the AGM, and related papers, are available from the SSISI website.

The meeting will be followed by the closing presidential address by Professor Frances Ruane, entitled “The Changing Patterns of Production and Consumption of Official Statistics in Ireland, 1989-2019”. Non-members are welcome to attend from 5.30pm and to participate in the discussion of Prof Ruane’s address.

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SSISI Symposium, Chartered Accountants House (25 April)

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The Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland [ssisi.ie]

invites you to attend its 2019 Symposium on the following topic:

The Economies on the Island of Ireland

The Symposium will take place in Dublin on Thursday, April 25th, at 5.30pm, in the Achill Room on the 2nd floor of Chartered Accountants House, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

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Characterising the Financial Cycle in Ireland

NTMA Chief Economist Rossa White and Lisa Sheenan of Queen’s University Belfast have released a new paper, characterising Ireland’s financial cycle, in the first of a new NTMA Research series. Those interested in learning more can read the full paper here.

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DEW, September 2019 – call for papers

The 42nd DEW Annual Economic Policy Conference will take place on 13/14 September 2019 in Clayton Whites Hotel, County Wexford. DEW is Ireland’s longest standing and premier forum for economic policy debate. Founded in 1977, the annual economic policy conference is attended by policymakers, academics and practitioners with a focus on evidence-based policymaking. We are now in the process of assembling speakers for this year’s event and would like to invite a call for papers in the following areas:

  • The economics of health
  • Sustainability & climate change
  • Small open economies
  • Labour market
  • 20th Anniversary of the Euro
  • Housing

Submissions should be sent to sarah@dublineconomics.com, by Thursday 18 April. All submissions will be treated fairly but cannot be guaranteed to be accepted for inclusion in the conference.

DEW Committee

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SSISI Meeting (Barrington Lecture) – 5.30pm, Thursday 21st February

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The Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland [ssisi.ie]

invites you to attend the 2019 Barrington Lecture on the following topic:

US corporate tax rate cuts: Spillovers to the Irish economy

By: Daragh Clancy (European Stability Mechanism)

to be delivered on: Thursday 21st February 2019 at 5.30pm

at the: Royal Irish Academy

The proposer of thanks is Professor Frank Barry, Trinity College Dublin.

Abstract: We examine spillovers to the Irish economy from US corporate income tax rate cuts and find they lead to a small but persistent increase in Irish output. Our analysis of the transmission channels shows that this expansion is largely driven by an increase in investment, employment and exports in the externally-financed industrial sector. We also find that spillovers from US corporate income tax cuts are larger when the Irish economy is already expanding. Our findings suggest that the changing structure of the Irish economy means any spillovers to real economic activity from the recent US corporate tax cuts could be relatively minor. However, the shifting focus of foreign multinational corporations’ operations in Ireland means that there is a risk of a capital outflow.

Non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

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Banking Crisis Economic history

Guest post: An Ireland of Alternative Private Currencies Without Bailouts

Today, we have a guest post by Sean Kenny (Lund), who below summarises some lessons for policymakers from a recent working paper with John Turner (Queens) on the Irish banking system before joint-stock banks.

==

As the Irish economy continues to emerge from the financial crisis of 2008 and the controversial blanket guarantee which followed it, from the comfort of hindsight a number of decisions have been criticised by prominent commentators. In particular, the terms of the bailout package and the shouldering of bank debt by the Irish taxpayer have featured frequently in the debate. In other words, the domestic and international political machinery employed to address the collapse of the banking system was deemed by many to be inappropriate, as events unfolded all too rapidly. Over the critical weekend of the guarantee, concerns were raised that no currency would be available from ATM machines at the open of business the following Monday.

It is interesting to ponder what might have happened under such a scenario where no support mechanism, instead of an inadequate one, had existed and where money may in fact have disappeared from the economy. As my research with Professor John Turner (Queen’s University, Belfast) documents, such was largely the experience during the last Irish banking crisis of comparable scale in 1820. During this era, money consisted of alternative private bank notes which were redeemable in Bank of Ireland notes considered “as good as gold.”

No central bank existed and the Irish and British exchequers had recently amalgamated. If a private bank had lent unwisely, pushing too many of its notes into circulation, when their notes were presented for conversion at their counters, failure could quickly occur if its current loan income and reserves fell short of its short term liabilities (notes and deposits). Of course, this tendency was exacerbated by a lack of regulation on the issue of private currency, a lack of trust in the stability of small private partnership banks and a prevailing political ethos which saw no role for government involvement in ensuring financial stability.

The 1820 crisis, which began in Cork and spread north saw 40 per cent of Irish banks fail within three weeks, leaving large portions of the country with neither currency nor banks for many years. This had predictably adverse effects on the economy as investment and consumption were largely suspended. In a scene many of us are familiar with today, many bankers, consisting primarily of the politically-connected landed elite, shielded their personal estates from liquidators as their banks’ deposits and notes went unpaid, ruining whole communities in turn. In the worst affected areas, money was simply unavailable to pay wages or to engage in trade and so consumption and employment further collapsed while price falls continued as money became scarcer. As a petition signed by the Lord Mayor of Cork put it, “all confidence, as well as Trade, is suspended, there not being sufficient currency to represent property in its transfer”.

During the following five years, a twilight zone emerged from the ashes, during which an insufficient supply of private money in the form of trade bills was circulated amongst the merchant class who constantly petitioned for reform of the entire monetary and banking system. In this era of uncertainty, many survivor banks and businesses failed as debts could not be collected and the Bank of Ireland remained solely in Dublin.

The 1820 crisis marked the beginning of the end of a quarter century which one historian called a “financial pantomime” where more than 20 percent of the banking system failed on at least four separate occasions. Compared with our own age where banks are deemed “too big to fail”, this was an era in which banks were too small to survive with primitive legislation controlling their activities. So utterly decimated was the monetary and banking system following 1820, that new legislation was introduced in 1825 which replaced the small partnership banks with a system of well capitalised joint stock banks with unlimited liability for a large number of shareholders.

This revolutionised the Irish banking system and dramatically improved financial access through the coming decades. No major banking crisis was to visit Ireland again until 2008. In an age where private (crypto) currencies are being promoted as a panacea to the alleged ills of current monetary regimes, it is appropriate to recall that when private money dies, it is not only its holders and issuers who are affected when the scale of its exchange is significant.  The demise of this group will reduce their investment, consumption and debt-servicing capabilities, which will in turn affect the wider economy. Instead, the utopia of a well-designed financial system in the context of a political apparatus which minimises the fallout when things go awry, then as now, remains a goal worthy of our finest endeavour.

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129th Barrington Medal, 2018/2019

The Barrington Medal is awarded annually by the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland under the auspices of the Barrington Trust (founded in 1836 by the bequest of John Barrington). The award is intended to recognise a promising new researcher in the economic and social sciences in Ireland. The award is a silver medal and €1,000. This will be the 170th anniversary of the lecture series and the recipient will be the one 129th Barrington Lecturer.

The lecture should be based on a paper of not more than 7,500 words addressing a topic of relevance to economic or social policy and of current interest in Ireland. In treating the issue of economic or social policy,
the paper may either report the findings of a statistical research study dealing with some aspect of the problem or deal with the underlying theoretical considerations involved, or preferably combine these two
approaches. It should be written in a manner that makes it accessible to non-specialists in the area. More technical material may be included in an appendix.

The paper is published in the Journal of the Society, so it should not have been published before (nor should it be published subsequently without the prior consent of the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland). Candidates, who at the time of their submission must be not more than 35 years of age, should at least submit a detailed abstract of approximately 1,000 words on the proposed lecture, with preference being
given to full papers. A short CV and the name of a proposer who is familiar with their work should also be submitted.

The call for entries closes on September 8th.  More information, including a list of past winners of the Medal since 1992, is available here and from secretary@ssisi.ie.

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41st DEW Annual Conference – September 14/15, Clayton Whites (Wexford)

The 41st Annual DEW Economic Policy Conference, supported by Dublin Chamber, takes place in Whites of Wexford on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th September, 2018.

The conference opens on Friday afternoon with the Cantillon Lecture delivered by Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe. The two other sessions on Friday deal with the all-island economy, including Aidan Gough (Intertrade Ireland) and Tom Healy (NERI), and “Ten Years Since the Crisis“, where the expert panel includes Sharon Donnery (Central Bank) and Ann Nolan (ex-Department of Finance).

Saturday morning starts with a session on Housing Supply, featuring among others Orla Hegarty (UCD) and Colette Bennett (Social Justice Ireland). Next up is an expert panel on Higher Education, with Michael Horgan (Chair, Higher Education Authority), Brigid McManus (ex-Department of Education) and Linda Doyle (Vice-Dean for Research, Trinity College Dublin).

After lunch, there are parallel sessions on the application of behavioural economics to policy and on public finances. The conference concludes with an expert panel on Ireland 2040, chaired by Robert Watt (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform), and the William Petty lecture, by another government minister.

For more on the conference, including how to book, please visit the DEW’s website: http://dublineconomics.com.

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41st Annual DEW Economic Policy Conference

The Dublin Economics Workshop (DEW) is holding its 41st annual Economic Policy Conference in the Clayton White’s Hotel in Wexford on 14/15 September 2018.

At this stage, the DEW is inviting submissions on the following six topics:

  1. All-island economy
  2. Transport & infrastructure
  3. Higher education
  4. Diversity
  5. Behavioural economics – application to policy
  6. Housing supply

All speakers will be asked to present for 15 minutes each. While a paper is not mandatory, it is preferred. If you would like to submit, please send a short abstract (c.300 words) to sarah@dublineconomics.com by 5pm on Friday 11th May.

 

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SSISI Annual Symposium – Ireland 2040

The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland will host its annual symposium this Thursday, 26th April 2018 at 5:30pm, in Chartered Accountants House, 47/49 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

The topic of the symposium is: ‘Where’ will the Economy be in 2040? Delivering on the National Planning Framework

Speakers include:

  • Professor Henry Overman, London School of Economics and Director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth
  • Paul Hogan, Senior Adviser at Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government and project manager for the National Planning Framework
  • Dr. Ronan Lyons, Assistant Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin

As ever, non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

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New ‘Economics of Property Market’ online course at TCD

There is widespread agreement that Ireland lacks the housing policy expertise to solve its current housing woes. For example, Donal MacManus of the Irish Council of Social Housing made the case recently for third-level education in housing, given the small number of people with accredited housing policy expertise in this country.

To help address this skills gap, Trinity have developed an online course entitled The Economics of the Property Market. It is aimed largely at professionals without any formal training in economics whose work involves property/housing, including valuers, architects, engineers, solicitors and accountants, but is open to anyone with an interest in the property market.

The online course takes place April-June and comprises four sessions, which look separately at: understanding markets; the demand for property; the supply of property; and the economics of property market policy. More information, and a link to sign up for the course, is given at this link:
https://www.tcd.ie/Economics/CPD/index.php

The deadline for registering is Friday April 13th, the course is live on April 30 and all participants are expected to complete the four sessions within six weeks. Those who have further questions can contact me (firstname.surname at tcd.ie).

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Minister Donohue, Stephen Donnelly speaking at DEW conference

A quick update on the annual DEW Conference. As noted a couple of weeks ago, the conference takes place in White’s of Wexford on September 22nd and 23rd. The post linked above outlined some highlights (at least in my own opinion) based on the programme as it was at the time.

An updated programme is now live at this link [PDF]. There are two further updates to the programme that readers may be interested to know:

  1. Firstly, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue will be giving the William Petty Keynote on Saturday evening, before the conference closes. He will speak after the Ireland in 2040 session, so it is likely he will address the regional spread of economic activity and the related topic of spending on infrastructure.
  2. Secondly, Stephen Donnelly TD will be giving the Cantillon Lecture on Friday afternoon. Stephen is the Fianna Fail spokesperson on Brexit and his lecture will be on the same topic.

For more on the conference and to buy tickets, please visit dublineconomics.com. Please note that, due to significant demand, there are no longer any rooms available at White’s. There is instead limited availability at the Maldron.

(Observant readers will have noticed that both named lectures are after economists with strong Kerry connections. Particularly in this, the 40th Annual DEW Conference, this is in recognition of the long association it has had with Kerry and with Kenmare in particular.)

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2017/2018 Barrington Medal – deadline 8 September

THE STATISTICAL AND SOCIAL INQUIRY SOCIETY OF IRELAND:

Barrington Medal, 2017/2018

The Barrington Medal is awarded annually by the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland under the auspices of the Barrington Trust (founded in 1836 by the bequest of John Barrington).  The award is intended to recognise promising new researchers in the economic and social sciences in Ireland. This will be the 169th anniversary of the lecture series and the recipient will be the one hundred and twenty-eighth Barrington Lecturer. The award is a silver medal and €1,000.

The lecture should be based on a paper of not more than 7,500 words addressing a topic of relevance to economic or social policy and of current interest in Ireland. In treating the issue of economic or social policy, the paper may either report the findings of a statistical research study dealing with some aspect of the problem or deal with the underlying theoretical considerations involved, or preferably combine these two approaches. It should be written in a manner that makes it accessible to non-specialists in the area. More technical material may be included in an appendix. The paper is published in the Journal of the Society, so it should not have been published before (nor should it be published subsequently without the prior consent of the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland).

Candidates, who at the time of their submission must be within 10 years of completing a primary degree (or not more than 33 years of age), should at least submit a detailed abstract of approximately 1,000 words on the proposed lecture, with preference being given to full papers. A short CV and the name of a proposer who is familiar with their work should also be submitted. Entries will be accepted until September 8th and should be submitted to:

Martin O’Brien

Honorary Secretary

The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland

c/o Financial Stability Division

Central Bank of Ireland

PO Box 559

Dublin 1

e-mail: Secretary@ssisi.ie

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Dublin Economics Workshop – Annual ‘Kenmare’ conference

This year sees the 40th Annual DEW Economic Policy Conference. The event takes place on September 22nd/23rd in the Clayton Whites Hotel in Wexford, with the generous support of the Dublin Chamber. On behalf of the organising committee, I am pleased to announce the programme for the event is live and available via this link.

As in previous years, the conference is the premier forum for presentation and debate on the major economic issues facing Ireland. This year, topics covered include Brexit, housing, monetary policy, redistribution and inequality, Public Sector pay and the National Planning Framework. To pick out some highlights:

  • Kevin O’Rourke (of this parish), Frances Coppola, Catherine Day (ex-European Commission) and Rory Montgomery (Dept of Foreign Affairs) on Europe after Brexit
  • A “during dinner” session on the DEW at Forty, highlighting some of the policy wins, failures and lessons from the last four decades – chaired by Sean Whelan (RTE)
  • International perspectives on solving Ireland’s housing crisis, including a presentation from the author of an OECD report on land use
  • A session on Ireland’s tax policy, featuring among others David Bradbury, head of Tax Policy (and BEPS) at the OECD
  • An expert panel discusses Ireland in 2040, with contributions from John Moran (ex-Dept of Finance) and Conor Skehan (DIT and Housing Agency), among others.

There will also be two keynote addresses, one on Friday afternoon (on Brexit) and one on Saturday (as a follow-up to the Ireland in 2040 session). Given the strength of the line-up, we advise those interested to book early as there will be significant demand and places are limited. All bookings can be made via the website: dublineconomics.com. There are a limited number of special all-in fee packages, including 2 nights B&B and 2 dinners, as well as the conference fee, available at the website.