James Surowiecki has an interesting piece on housing the homeless here.
Archive for the ‘Social conditions’ Category
By Seán Ó RiainMonday, May 19th, 2014
On Thurs., 29th of May, a special seminar on Social Investment in Europe will be hosted by the Department of Sociology/ NIRSA, Political Economy and Work Cluster and the New Deals in the New Economy project. The seminar will run from 9.30 to 1.30 and will be followed by the launch of a new MA in Sociology (Work, Labour Markets and Employment) by Minister Joan Burton.
‘Social Investment’ focuses on investing in people’s skills and capacities and supporting them to participate fully in employment and social life (EU Commission). Does ‘social investment’ lead to a renewal or an erosion of the welfare state? Will ‘social investment’ support economic and social recovery?
The event will start at 9.30 with registration and coffee followed by the seminar at 10.00 in the Phoenix building on the North Campus in NUIM keynoted by Prof Anton Hemerijck, VU University Amsterdam and Prof Brian Nolan, UCD, and chaired by Prof. Seán Ó Riain.
Following a break for coffee there will be a roundtable discussion with: Rossella Ciccia (NUIM), Tom Healy (NERI) and Rory O’Donnell (NESC), chaired by Mary Murphy (NUIM).
Please register for seminar by emailing email@example.com before May 26th, 2014
The results from the 2012 wave of the EU-SILC have been published by the CSO.
There had been some difficulties with the statistics estimated from the survey in previous years which may account for the lag in getting the 2012 data published. The data was collected between January 2012 and January 2013.
The main results are summarised in this table.
Of the reported 2012 changes in the poverty and income inequality measures, only the change in the deprivation rate is reported as being statistically significant.
The average weekly net equivalised disposable income for the bottom decile was €118.55 in 2012. Income decile data was not provided in the 2011 release and the 2010 figures were withdrawn. In the 2009 release, the average weekly equivalised net disposable income for the bottom decile was €160.05.
Comparable figures for the top decile are €1,041.71 in 2009 and €958.44 in 2012. It should be noted that possible differences in the composition of the deciles between years make such changes difficult to fully interpret. The income shares by decile are provided in this table.
The first table here shows that average equivalised disposable income for the population fell by 10.5 per cent between 2009 (€23,326) and 2012 (€20,856). The second table shows that the share going to the bottom decile fell by 16.7 per cent between the same years (from 3.6 per cent in 2009 to 3.0 per cent in 2012).
According to the Irish Independent, Minister Noonan was worrying in public last night about the shortage of family homes in the Dublin area. But he also apparently said:
“We need to get property prices up another bit.”
To which the only possible response is: “why”?
If you are stuck in a malfunctioning currency union and can’t devalue, then don’t you want to get all costs down as much as possible, especially if they are going to feed into wage demands? Why interfere with the market in this particular case?
The Central Bank have released the Q4 2013 update of their mortgage arrears statistics.
For Primary Dwelling Houses (PDHs), 12.6 per cent of accounts are in arrears of 90 days or more. This compares to 11.4 per cent of accounts in similar arrears in the unaudited monthly data for December published by the Department of Finance.
The Department of Finance figures cover the six banks operating under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) process. These banks (ACC, AIB, BOI, KBC, PTSB, ULSTER) provide 90 per cent of mortgage lending in Ireland so it is clear that the remaining 10 per cent of mortgages (from the former BOSI and INBS as well as the various sub-prime lenders) have a far higher arrears rate – somewhere around 23.5 per cent. The 90-day arrears rates for the INBS and subprime mortgages are greater than 50 per cent.
In today’s Central Bank statistics we see the total number of PDH accounts in arrears continue to fall and for the first time there was a decline in the number of accounts 90 days or more in arrears.
However, the situation of those in existing arrears continues to deteriorate with yet another significant increase in the number of accounts now 720 days or more in arrears (31,834 to 33,589).
On average the accounts greater than 720 days in arrears are just under €42,000 in arrears. Across the statistics there is an average of roughly 1.25 accounts per household.
The outstanding balance on mortgages in arrears fell from €25.6 billion to €24.4 billion of which €18.2 billion are in arrears of 90 days or more. The total amount of arrears rose from €2.17 billion to €2.24 billion.
The total amount of PDH mortgage debt continues to fall and is now at €107.4 billion, compared to €118.6 billion when the series began in September 2009. However, it should be noted that the release mentions “asset sales” that took place over the quarter but it is not clear what impact these have on the figures. The sales refer to mortgages that were sold by one of the reporting institutions, and are therefore no longer included in the statistics.
At the of December there were 84,053 restructured PDH accounts and 79.3 per cent were deemed to be meeting the conditions of the restructure. There is a new table providing these rates by each type of restructure.
Reduced payment less than interest only (4,264) and arrears capitalisation (18,516 accounts) are the worst performing restructures for PDH accounts. There were only 14 accounts granted a permanent interest rate reduction.
As expected the number of split mortgages continues to grow rapidly. It increased from 1,154 in Q3 to 3,268 in Q4 and, with 96.3 per cent compliance, it is the best performing restructure for PDHs. This is likely linked to the incentives built in to the restructure. There are likely to be many more split mortgages coming through as there are 9,722 restructured accounts classed as “Other” most of which are “accounts that have been offered a long-term solution, pending the completion of six months of successful payment.”
There were 63 forced repossession in the quarter and 105 voluntary surrenders.
Court proceedings were initiated in 1,491 cases. Up to Q2 2013 the average number of proceedings issued per quarter was around 250. This increased massively in the second half of 2013. During Q4, 258 court proceedings were concluded and 82 court orders for repossession were granted. Of the 176 concluded by other means it is probable that many of these see the borrower and lender enter a new arrangement through a restructuring of the original loan agreement with others ending by way of voluntary surrender/abandonment.
Data on the Buy-to-Let sector are also included in both releases.
Here are links to two studies released through the ESRI this week. One chart is taken from each but there is much more detail in both particularly the second.
Seán Ó Riain’s post and links to the recent British Medical Journal article on suicide and unemployment call for an extended comment, although, as Brian Lucey points out, the topic was discussed in a recent post.
The estimates of the number of suicides attributable to the recession in the BMJ article are based on the trend in suicide rates over the eight years 2000 to 2007 pooled over 54 countries compared with the rates recorded in the years 2008, 2009, and 2010. The discrepancies between the actual and extrapolated rates were used to infer the impact of unemployment: The authors summarize their approach as follows:
To examine whether suicide rates rose more in countries with worse economic downturns, we used Spearman’s correlation coefficients to investigate the association between suicide rate ratios in 2009 and percentage point changes in unemployment rates between 2007 (the baseline year) and 2009 (unemployment rates (in %) in 2009 minus unemployment rates (in %) in 2007 across study countries.
As may be seen from Figure 1 the Irish suicide rate hardly changed between 2007 and 2010 – rising from 10.5 to 10.9 When deaths “due to external causes of undetermined intent” (a category generally viewed as referring predominantly to suicides) are included, the rate actually fell from 13.2 in 2007 to 12.7 in 2010. Looking beyond 2010, using preliminary data based on year of registration, both measures of suicide were stable in 2011 and 2012.
Taking a long-run perspective, the econometric evidence contained in Walsh and Walsh, 2011 shows that the Irish suicide rate has been only weakly correlated with the unemployment rate. Other factors seem to have been at work. For example, the suicide rate rose sharply during the period of falling unemployment in the second half of the 1990s, which coincided with a surge in per capita alcohol consumption. The suicide rate declined during the first half of the noughties – particularly among younger males – coinciding with the start of a steady decline in alcohol consumption.
The following Figure shows the suicide and unemployment rates since the 1960s and brings out the lack of correlation between them. In particular, the recent surge in unemployment seems to have had a surprisingly weak impact on the suicide rate.
While it might be claimed – as is done in the BMJ article – that had unemployment not risen, the suicide rate would have fallen below its present level, but extending the earlier econometric work down to 2012 suggests that the influence of the unemployment rate on suicides has remained relatively weak and confined to males aged 35-54. These age groups account for about 30% of all suicides. Suicide among males in other age groups and among females, which account for 70% of the total, do not appear to be significantly influenced by the unemployment rate.
We must be careful not to attribute too much of our current suicide problem to the downturn in the economy and / or the measures that have been taken to correct our fiscal imbalances.
The CSO release is here.
Dermot and Brendan Walsh have just published a provocative comment in the British Medical Journal on the link between health and austerity [http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f4140/rr/651853].
Momentary relief from the deliberations on Anglo!
The comment reads:
Ireland is – after Greece – the country where the post 2008 structural adjustment programme, aka austerity, has been proportionately most severe. Yet there are few indications that this has had a significant adverse effect on basis health indicators.
The crude death rate in 2012 was 6.3 per 1,000 compared with 6.4 in pre-austerity 2007. The suicide rate in 2012 was 12.8 per 100, 000 in 2012 compared with 13.2 in 2007. Admission rates for depressive disorders fell to 117 per 100, 000 in 2012 from 138 in 2007. The percentage distribution of self-assessed health status did not change between 2007 and 2010 (the latest available year).
Overall there is a striking lack of evidence that the major austerity programme implementd since 2007, and the concomitant trebling of the inemployment rate, has had a significant deleterious effect on the health of the Irish population. This evidence needs to be given due weight in international assessments of the impact of economic policies on public health.
Last week the latest ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary was published. It includes 5 research notes including one by myself on the regional dimension of the unemployment crisis.
While there is a lot of discussion about unemployment, the differences across regions have not received much attention. The note shows that the differences are significant. It also shows that things would look a lot worse if it had not been for a drop in labour force participation – in the Border region the unemployment rate could have reached 27%. Not surprisingly a sharp drop in employment is the major cause of the increase in unemployment, but a look at the sectoral breakdown of employment changes gives some interesting results. Firstly, construction employment appears to have contracted quite uniformly across the country. Secondly, employment in education and health actually grew. Thirdly, there are some interesting differences across the regions with respect to other sectors. For example, manufacturing declined much more in Dublin than elsewhere. Most importantly the analysis suggests that the underlying factors that are responsible for the differences in unemployment rates across the regions are very persistent but were hidden during the boom. You can expect some more analysis on this in the near future.
The other notes are:
Tax and Taxable Capacity: Ireland in Comparative Perspective
Comparing Public and Private Sector Pay in Ireland: Size Matters
Trends in Consumption since the Crisis
Revisions to Population, Migration and the Labour Force, 2007-2011
A new report commissioned by the Department of Social Protection and undertaken by the ESRI is available here.
The focus of the report is on the very low work intensity (VLWI) measure of social exclusion with which Ireland is a significant outlier. In Ireland 22.8% of people under 60 live in households with very low work intensity compared to an EU27 average of 10%. The report looks at the trend in this measure over time and the characteristics of households that comprise this group.
The problem of youth unemployment has rightly been highlighted as one of the major issues facing European countries today. The newspapers have fastened on the shocking statistic that the unemployment rate among Spaniards and Greeks aged 15 – 25 is about 50 per cent, while the rate for the EU as a whole is about 20 per cent. These are alarming numbers, but they are also somewhat misleading.
As Stephen Hill pointed out in a piece in the Financial Times on June 24th, the unemployment rate may not be the best measure of labour market conditions among young people who have opportunities to stay in the educational and training systems rather than entering a depressed labour market. For this reason, an alternative measure, the unemployment ratio, has gained currency.
The conventional unemployment rate is the numbers ‘unemployed’ as a proportion of the ‘labour force’. The ‘labour force’ is the sum of the employed and unemployed. The ‘unemployed’ are those actively seeking work, but not at work. (For young people it is of interest to break unemployment down into those ‘looking for first regular job’ and those who are ‘unemployed having lost or given up previous job’.)
The problem with using the unemployment rate to measure labour market conditions among young people is that the denominator does not include those who are in the educational system or on full-time training courses. During a recession, the higher the proportion of a youth cohort that stays on in school or college or in training, the smaller the labour force and the higher the unemployment rate. This is perverse.
By using the whole cohort as the denominator, the unemployment ratio avoids this pitfall and it may be argued that it therefore provides a clearer picture of hardship being caused by the lack of employment. (Of course this is subject to the reservation that increased educational participation may involve putting square pegs in round holes, with some young people taking courses in which they have no interest.)
The limitations of the unemployment rate as a measure of labour market conditions among the youth population is acknowledged by Eurostat, who now publish both the ratio and the rate for the population aged 15-24. (Their recent figures for Ireland for 2011 are low and may not reflect the latest Census returns.)
The distinction between the unemployment rate and ratio certainly matters. Data in the recently-released 2011 Census of Population volume This is Ireland Part 2 show the population classified by ‘principal economic status’. These reveal an unemployment rate of 38.7 per cent among the population aged 15-24 compared with an unemployment ratio of 14.2 per cent. While the ratio of 14.2 per cent gives no grounds for complacency, it is less alarming than the headline rate of almost 40 per cent.
It is perhaps even more important to note that the unemployment ratio has not risen as dramatically as the unemployment rate since the onset of the recession in 2008. The Figure displays the three concepts based on the 2006 and 2011 Census data.
(The Table at the end provides more details.)
Whereas the unemployment rate rose by 140% the ratio rose by 90%. Thus, the rate tends to overstate both the level of unemployment among young people and the rate at which it has risen.
It may, however, be objected that the unemployment ratio includes all those who are not in the labour force in the denominator but excludes discouraged workers and similar forms of disguised unemployment from the numerator. This bias would certainly be significant among older workers, who are more likely to cease looking for work and to drop out of the labour force because no jobs are available. Its effect on the youth data, however, is smaller because labour force categories other than ‘employed’, ‘student, and ‘unemployed’ are relatively unimportant among the young. In 2011 less than 2 per cent of population aged 15- 24 are classified as ‘looking after home/family’!
None the less, to take account of ‘dsicouraged workers’ it is worth looking at another concept that has gained some currency . This is the NEET ratio. It refers to the proportion of the population that is Not in Employment, Education or Training. To calculate this ratio for Ireland I have assumed that those in ‘(full-time) training’ are classified as ‘students’ in the Census. The resulting ratio must, by definition, fall between the unemployment ratio and the unemployment rate. From the Figure we can see that it lies closer to the unemployment ratio. Moreover, it has risen less rapidly than either the unemployment rate or ratio. In 2011 the NEET ratio was ‘only’ 65 per cent above it 2006 level.
It is striking that the widely-used unemployment rate is so much higher, and has risen so much more, than the alternative – and arguably better – measures of the situation in the youth labour market.
The reason why the unemployment rate overstates both the level and rise in Irish youth unemployment is the high level of educational participation and its marked increase over the past five years. The proportion of the 15-24 year-old population in the educational system rose from 50.1 per cent in 2006 to 60.5 per cent in 2011. While not all of the additional years of schooling will be as productive as we would wish, being in the educational system is less wasteful than being unemployed. This aspect of the adjustment to the present crisis is concealed by the conventional youth unemployment rate.
None the less, we cannot lose sight of the collapse of employment among the youth population. In 2006 39.5 per cent of the population aged 15-24 was in employment. By 2011 this percentage had fallen to 22.5. Among those aged 20-24 the rate declined from 60.0 to 39.0. While the youth unemployment crisis may not be as severe as suggested by the headline youth unemployment rate, it is a crisis.
By Aidan KaneWednesday, May 23rd, 2012
A new issue of the journal Administration is out today.
To mark the journal’s ‘re-launch’, this issue is available in full for free online here.
As many readers will know, Administration is published by the Institute of Public Administration, and has been a key locus for research-led debate on economic development, and of course on wider developments in the public sector and society, since 1953.
The current issue includes prefatory articles from the incoming editor Muiris MacCarthaigh, who `sets out his stall’, and from Tony McNamara, who has edited Administration since 1989. These will be of interest no doubt to a wide readership and to various contributor bases, (e.g., from academic, practitioner and civil society perspectives).
As the contents indicate, the focus of this issue is on public sector reform, with an opening piece by Brendan Howlin TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. I guess that Ministers historically have been uneven in how or whether they contribute to debate at this level; perhaps this is a good cue to them, and to politicians more generally, to get their quills out.
Notes from the Editors:
- “Renewing public administration research and practice” by Muiris MacCarthaigh
- “A final word” by Tony McNamara
- “Reform of the public service” by Brendan Howlin, TD
- “Progress and pitfalls in public service reform and performance management in Ireland” by Mary Lee Rhodes & Richard Boyle
- “Regulating everything: From mega- to meta-regulation” by Colin Scott
- “Trust and public administration” by Geert Bouckaert
- “The reform of public administration in Northern Ireland: a squandered opportunity?” by Colin Knox
- Third report of the Organisational Review Programme
- The challenge of change: Putting patients before providers
Venue: The ESRI, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2
Time: 8.30 – 13.00
The fourth ESRI Renewal Conference will examine the best available domestic and international evidence relating to the need for rapid economic adjustment. Papers will address:
- What explains the apparent inflexibility of wages in the Irish labour market?
- How can competition and regulatory policies help in economic recovery?
- What does evidence tell us about designing a property tax?
Papers will be followed by a response from an expert in the field and an open Q&A session.
8.30 Registration & Refreshments
9.00 Opening remarks: Frances Ruane, Director, ESRI
9.05 Explaining Changes in Earnings and Labour Costs During the Recession
Adele Bergin, Elish Kelly, Seamus McGuinness (ESRI)
9.35 Response: Kieran Mulvey, The Labour Relations Commission
9.45 Audience discussion
10.10 Troubled Times: What role for Competition and Regulatory Policy?
Paul Gorecki (ESRI).
10.40 Response: Cathal Guiomard, Commission for Aviation Regulation
10.50 Audience Discussion
11.45 Property Tax in Ireland: Key Choices
Claire Keane, John Walsh, Tim Callan, Michael Savage (ESRI)
12.15 Response: Dr William McCluskey, University of Ulster
12.25 Audience Discussion
To book a place at this conference, please register here
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Economic Renewal Conference Series is supported by FBD Trust.
If you would like to receive our monthly eNewsletter with news of ESRI activities and publications, please subscribe here.
Today the CSO begin their release of the detailed results (schedule) from last April’s Census with the publication of This is Ireland (Part 1). There is lots of information in the volume and here is just one table that reflects a point made in the press release.
I couldn’t see the equivalent 1996 numbers in a quick search and the category on “Being purchased from a Local Authority” was not used in the 2011 Census so the “Rented from Local Authority” figure is presumably the sum of earlier categories. The “Rented from a Voluntary/Cooperative Body” first appeared in the 2006 Census and the initial number seems high.
As the press release highlights the big change is in the number of households renting which increased from 300,000 to almost 475,000 over five years. It can also be seen that around 35% of households have a mortgage. There were 290,000 vacant units on Census night.
The CSO have now released the full results of the 2010 EU-SILC. The report gives lots of detail on income and poverty in Ireland. One graph immediately stood out.
Care has to be taken when interpreting this as different households are surveyed each year and the composition of the households in each decile will also change. Detailed tables can be seen in the report which can be compared to those in the 2009 release.
When looking at the annual change by household composition the following can be seen.
The largest drops are seen for households with one adult aged under 65 and no children under 18, and “other households with children”. Drops are also recorded for other categories.
Average weekly expenditure is estimated to be €810 per week or around €42,000 per year. The release contains lots of detailed information by income decile, region, location and household tenure.
So I thought I would share my thoughts on how the Irish are faring on this front.
By Liam DelaneySunday, October 23rd, 2011
Here is a VOX article on my joint work with James Smith and Mark McGovern on long-run determinants of health in Ireland. The extent to which decisions made in one decade have impacts on later ones is an important area of economics in terms of examining theoretical mechanisms and working out discounted values of public policies. The extent to which modern national policy-makers can target such obvious problems as infant deaths due to gastroenteritis is limited. However, there is still a strong role for looking at the long-run effects of policies aimed at improving, in particular, childhood mental health.
Morgan Kelly’s comments (and research paper) last month on mortgage debt restructuring forced the government to come up with an expert group to recommend solutions to the problem of highly indebted households. The expert group’s report will be presented to Cabinet this week and has helpfully been leaked before that. Today’s Sindo carries a small piece by John Drennan on the content of the ‘Keane’ report that raises more questions than it answers.
In addition to really, seriously, and, like, really, advising people who can do so to pay off their mortgages, the report contains some specific recommendations. From the piece, then:
“Homeowners who can no longer pay the mortgage could negotiate with their lenders to hand back the property but remain on as tenants.
Banks who repossess homes will then lease them to local authorities to deal with housing shortages.
The timeframe to get discharged from bankruptcy to be cut from up to 20 years to just three years.
People facing bankruptcy will be offered a “non-judicial” route — meaning they won’t have to go through the courts in all cases.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service will be beefed up with hundreds of “front-line” financial advisers who will deal exclusively with distressed mortgage holders.”
The most important part of the report is contained in a rather throwaway sentence–that banks “should engage in debt settlement“. The mechanics of this process (or processes) of debt settlement are very important and should be discussed on this blog and others when the full report is eventually published.
It looks like the group is taking a multi-pronged approach to the problem, which is welcome. It also looks like there is some attempt to deal with the issue of those who will never pay their mortgages via movements to local authority lists. That is not a simple process either, as NamaWineLake has recently shown.
It is important to note the timescales here. Right now, according to the government’s legislative programme, any bill to reform our bankruptcy laws is not even a twinkle in Minister Shatter’s eye, despite his assurances that the personal insolvency legislation would be substantially complete by Christmas or early 2012. That means the lynchpin of the strategy–that people can fail, and fail relatively cheaply through expedited personal insolvency proceedings–will likely not be in place before the summer.
Other questions present themselves, such as: when ‘negotiating’ with a bank on whether to hand the house back and/or rent it back again, will there be a code of conduct for these negotiations? Who will decide?
Third, the super-MABS body may only have an advisory role, rather than an adjudicatory role in the debt resolution process, meaning that the banks retain most of the power in the debt resolution process. Or not. We just don’t know.
The sooner this potentially very important report gets 100% leaked after Cabinet approval, the better.
Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth have just published a CEPR Discussion Paper looking at the relationship between austerity and social unrest in Europe between 1919 and 2009.
To take our minds off the heavier economic / financial topics for a while I thought I would share some thoughts provoked by the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics for 2010 published at the end of June. Taken in conjunction with the preliminary results of the 2011 Census, it reveals some surprisingly positive trends for a country in the throes of a very deep recession.
Our birth rate is holding up despite the surge in unemployment and the resumption of net emigration (even if at a more modest rate than previously feared).
Over 75,000 births were registered in 2008 – almost 60% more than in 1994 and the highest number recorded in modern times. However, this was probably the peak, as the annual total for 2010 was 2% lower than that for 2008, while the 2010Q4 figure was 4% lower than the corresponding figure for 2008.
The surge in births will have far-reaching implications for the economy’s medium-term prospects. Most immediately it is placing pressure on the educational system, but over the longer run it could be argued that our relatively youthful population will bestow a competitve advantage relative to the rest of Europe, where the ageing of populations is becoming an acute problem.
The preliminary results of last April’s Population Census are available here.
They show continued strong population growth, averaging 1.6% a year over the last five years.
The CSO is to be complimented on the timely production of this very informative release.
Last nights programme on Irish playwriting during bubble and bust was thought-provoking and enjoyable (I’m not sure if the link works outside Ireland). It also gave us a chance to see frequent commentor on this site, Gavin Kostick, in his natural habitat.
I love Irish theatre, and the last 10-15 years have given us some fabulous plays. But O’Toole wanted something more: art that engaged with the really big themes in Irish society, a lot of which are, nowadays, economic. I found myself wondering how you would have written a bubble play that would have been more than an unfunny and joyless (Michael Colgan’s phrase) social satire. But surely there are cleavages in Irish society today that are ripe for artistic exploration.
The OECD has launched a new index with the aim of facilitating comparisons of the quality of life across countries. You can find the country summaries here.
Ireland does quite well in the rankings, although the usual caveat about using GDP in an Irish context applies. Moreover, the data used are mostly from 2008 and we have undoubtedly slipped towards the relegation zone since then.
The CSO has just released the 2009 results of its annual Survey of Income and Living Conditions. SILC is the official source of data on household and individual income and also provides a number of key national poverty indicators, such as the at risk of poverty rate, the consistent poverty rate and rates of enforced deprivation. The accompanying press release highlights a number of the key findings.