Are lower airport charges consistent with a larger investment budget? Actually, under exceptional demand growth, they’re unavoidable.

Users of Dublin airport in 2019 pay the daa up to €9.65 each time they use the airport’s infrastructure. Flying from Dublin to Stansted and back for example incurs four sets of aircraft charges, as each of the airports’ facilities are used twice.

Last month, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) proposed as part of its draft determination on Dublin airport charges that the price cap be set at €7.50 per passenger for the next five years (2020-2024). The press statement issued by the CAR stated that the proposed new price cap included all of the airport’s future investment plan, costing some €1.8bn. The CAR invited the views of interested parties by a deadline of 8 July.

The daa’s responding press statement expressed extreme concern at the proposed price cap especially because in the daa’s view the lower average charge  would not allow the airport operator to implement its investment programme.  On 14 June, the Irish Times reported that the airport CEO, Mr. Dalton Philips, had “stood down” work on new investment at the airport in protest at the proposed reduction in the price cap, seeking instead that the price stay close to €9.65 in the next regulatory period. Mr. Philips also set out the daa view on the Marian Finucane Show last Sunday morning (inter alia claiming the lower price cap would lead to a ‘yellow pack’ airport).

On the face of it, one might easily wonder whether higher (investment) spending could be funded from lower charges. This post is an analysis of that aspect of the proposed airport price cap.

Continue reading “Are lower airport charges consistent with a larger investment budget? Actually, under exceptional demand growth, they’re unavoidable.”

129th 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.

IPECE 2019 Programme

This year’s Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop will be hosted by the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway on Thursday June 6th and Friday June 7th. The event is aimed at PhD students, PostDocs, early career researchers and advanced Masters students based in higher education and research institutions on the island of Ireland. The meeting will feature the work and findings of scholars in economics and related fields and will provide an excellent opportunity to engage with research results and work-in-progress in a welcoming and constructive environment. We encourage those working on economics research to attend.

This year the workshop will include a range of thematic sessions and training events, including full paper thematic sessions with discussants and early-stage/emerging research findings thematic sessions with general open discussion. Both will take place on Friday June 7th, along with a short training session on ‘Publishing your Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals – Tips from Journal Editors’. In addition, a workshop on ‘An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economists’ will take place on the afternoon of Thursday June 6th (see below), followed by a social event that evening. While the abstract submission date has passed, it is still possible to register to attend the workshop and associated training events, which are free. Please do so at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/irish-postgraduate-and-early-career-economics-ipece-workshop-at-nui-galway-tickets-56359973197 .

Workshop Programme

The programme is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/publicsub-sites/economics/files/other/Draft-Programme.pdf

Workshop Venue

The workshop will take place in the JE Cairnes Building at NUI Galway. Please see Building 22 at https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/buildingsoffice/files/maps/M12122_General_CampusMapWEBpdf220217.pdf. For details about getting to NUI Galway, please visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/contact-us/how-to-find-us.html. Please note that on campus parking is very limited and we suggest parking off site if travelling by car.

IPECE Training Event – An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economists

This training event will be delivered by Dr. Achim Ahrens from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on Thursday 6th June from 1pm to 5pm. It will provide an overview of popular Machine Learning techniques and the focus will be on LASSO regression, a regularization and model selection method that can deal with high-dimensional data. It will also discuss how the LASSO and other Machine Learning tools can be useful for economists; in particular, how Machine Learning can improve predictions and facilitate causal inference. The presentation will be followed by a demonstration using the Stata packages LASSOPACK and PDSLASSO. Please visit the Eventbrite link above to register to attend.

Contact
The local organising committee consists of Laura Carter, John Cullinan, Daniel Cassidy, Jason Harold, Dan Kelleher, Doris Laepple, Luke McGrath, Shikha Sharma and Michelle Queally at NUI Galway. Please direct inquiries to IPECE2019@gmail.com.

Support
Generous support from the Irish Economic Association (IEA) and the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway is gratefully acknowledged.

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.

Revenue Annual Report for 2018

Revenue today published our Annual Report for last year, detailing the activities behind the collection of Exchequer receipts of €54.6 billion in 2018.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2019/pr-090519-revenue-publishes-2018-annual-report.aspx

Also published (links at the bottom of the page above) are a series of research papers and notes including our analysis of Corporation Tax payments in 2018 as well as returns for 2017.

SSISI Symposium, Chartered Accountants House (25 April)

SSISI logo.png

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.

19th-century Markets and Fairs as Imperial Economics

Dr. Aine Sheehan will present on “Economics of Empire: Markets and Fairs in 19th-century Ireland” on Friday 5th April at the Military History Archives, Cathal Brugha Barracks.

Dr.Sheehan makes the local global to explore connections between grassroots economics at markets and fairs, local politics and the wider imperial context, to shine new light on Ireland’s place within the British Empire of the 19th century and its everyday impact on Irish producers and consumers.

The talk and screening is free but spaces are limited and should be booked in advance on Eventbrite:https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/economics-of-empire-markets-fairs-in-19th-century-ireland-tickets-59379130578

Economic and Social Review new edition

The Spring edition of the Economic and Social Review is now available here.

It is a bit of a bumper volume with special editions in both the articles section on measuring economic potential and a special policy section focusing on housing.

Articles:

Foreword to Special Edition of The Economic and Social Review by Eddie Casey.

Inside the “Upside Down”: Estimating Ireland’s Output Gap by Eddie Casey

Estimating the Output, Inflation and Unemployment Gaps in Ireland using Bayesian Model Averaging by Michael O’Grady

The Current Account, a Real-Time Signal of Economic Imbalances or 20/20 Hindsight? by Niall Conroy and Eddie Casey

Measuring the Cycle and Structural Shocks by Marta Lopresto and Garry Young

Policy Section Articles

Exploring Affordability in the Irish Housing Market by Eoin Corrigan, Daniel Foley, Kieran McQuinn, Conor O’Toole and Rachel Slaymaker

The Scale and Impact of the Local Authority Rent Subsidy by Eoin Corrigan

Social Housing in the Irish Housing Market by Dorothy Watson and Eoin Corrigan

Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop 2019 – Updates

This year’s Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics (IPECE) Workshop will be hosted by the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway on Thursday June 6th and Friday June 7th. The event is aimed at PhD students, PostDocs, early career researchers and advanced Masters students based in higher education and research institutions on the island of Ireland. The meeting will feature the work and findings of scholars in economics and related fields, and will provide an excellent opportunity to present research results and work-in-progress in a welcoming and constructive environment. We strongly encourage those working on economics-related research to submit.

IPECE Webpage

We now have a dedicated workshop webpage: http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/subjectareas/economics/ipece2019/. Please check in for full details of the workshop and for regular updates.

IPECE Training Event – An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economists

This training event will be delivered by Dr. Achim Ahrens from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on Thursday 6th June from 1pm to 5pm. It will provide an overview of popular Machine Learning techniques and the focus will be on LASSO regression, a regularization and model selection method that can deal with high-dimensional data. It will also discuss how the LASSO and other Machine Learning tools can be useful for economists; in particular, how Machine Learning can improve predictions and facilitate causal inference. The presentation will be followed by a demonstration using the Stata packages LASSOPACK and PDSLASSO.  

Deadline for Submission

The deadline for abstract submission is Monday April 1st. Applicants will receive notification shortly afterwards. Please note that if you wish to be considered for a discussant session, you will be expected to submit a full paper by Monday May 20th. Please see the IPECE webpage for further details.

Support

Support from the Irish Economic Association (IEA) and the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway is gratefully acknowledged.

Miriam Hederman O’Brien Prize for 2018

The Foundation for Fiscal Studies presents the annual Miriam Hederman O’Brien Prize to recognise outstanding contributors in the area of Irish fiscal policy. The aim is to recognise those who promote the study and discussion of fiscal, economic and social policy. This forms an important part of the Foundation’s objective of promoting understanding and knowledge in these areas

Last year’s winner and shortlisted nominations are available here.

Call for Nominations

Nominations are invited for work completed during 2018 that has added to the public knowledge or understanding in areas such as taxation, public expenditure and other related fiscal policy topics. These contributions may include research papers, reports, books, book chapters, blog posts, opinion pieces, newspaper articles, television or radio contributions/documentaries or any other method which has publicly provided new and relevant insights into these topics in Ireland.

A shortlist of nominations will be compiled with the winners selected by a judging panel for the Prize. The judging panel will consist of national and international experts and is chaired by FFS Chairman.

The successful contribution will be awarded the Miriam Hederman O’Brien Prize which includes a cash prize of €1,000 and commemorative Gold Medal. The judging panel may also recognise other contributions from different categories or other types of contributions and award them appropriately.

Criteria / Eligibility

·         The Prize is for work completed during the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018.

·         There are no age or nationality criteria.

·         No individual may be awarded the Prize more than once.

·         Jointly-produced work will be considered, provided that no contributor has previously been awarded the Prize.

The Nomination Process

·         The closing date for nominations is 15 May 2019.

·         Those making nominations should briefly specify (100-150 words) why they believe the work is suitable for consideration for the Prize. They should also provide a weblink or other details of the work being nominated.

·         Those making nominations may nominate more than one piece of work.

·         Those making nominations are encouraged to nominate any pieces of work they feel meet the criteria for the prize, regardless of whether or not they themselves are the author. Authors may also nominate their own work.

·         Nominations for the Prize should be made by email to info@fiscal.ie.

Report Launch: Micro-Businesses in Ireland

Wednesday April 3rd 2019

National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square E, Dublin 2

4:00-5:30pm

REPORT LAUNCH

‘Micro-Businesses in Ireland: From Ambition to Innovation’

Authors: Dr. Jane Bourke & Prof. Stephen Roper

Launched by Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh

PANEL DISCUSSION

‘Supporting Micro-Business Growth in Ireland’

Chair: Prof. Stephen Roper (ERC & WBS). Panel:  Senator Padraig O’Ceidigh, Sven Spollen-Behrens (Small Firms Association), Lisa Collins (Micro-Business Owner), & Dr. Jane Bourke (UCC & ERC)

As places are limited please register here

Further information is available here 

Professor David O’Mahony, RIP

Professor David O’Mahony, former UCC Professor of Economics, passed away on March 10th.  He was Professor of Economics in UCC from 1964 to 1988.

A highly-respected scholar, his works include The Irish economy: an introductory description (1964), Ireland and the EEC: political, legal and economic aspects (1972) and The general theory of profit equilibrium: Keynes and the entrepreneur economy (1998) (with Connell Fanning). In addition, he authored several Economic Research Institute (now ESRI) papers, in particular on collective bargaining and industrial relations.     

Professor O’Mahony was widely held in great respect and affection by colleagues and students alike and will be sadly missed.

Funeral arrangements: https://rip.ie/death-notice/professor-david-o-mahony-sunday-s-well-cork/382183

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

Does (airport) price regulation offer lessons for protecting the public from overcharging for public investment projects?

Here is a somewhat longer version of an Op Ed I wrote for a recent edition of the Irish Independent.

The article is based on the accompanying Table, of which the current version is drawn from last year’s Issues Paper (p.52) published by the aviation regulator’s office. The Table aims to set out, comprehensively and (crucially) ex ante, all of the different ways in which a projects costs might differ from the projected costs – some good, some not so good, some catastrophic – and the appropriate regulatory policy for each.

How are we to protect taxpayers from outrageous cost escalation on public investment projects that draw from a finite pool of taxpayer funds and thereby squeeze out other plans? There may be lessons from the approach of regulatory offices that organise their assessment of capital expenditures with a view to protecting, for example, airport passengers from costs overruns on major projects such as the second terminal (T2) at Dublin airport.

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

SSISI logo.png

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.

Irish Economic Association Annual Conference 2019

The 33rd Annual Irish Economic Association Conference will be held in The River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork City on Thursday May 9th and Friday May 10th, 2019.

The keynote speakers will be Dr Asli Demiguc-Kunt, Director of Research at the World Bank, and Prof. Valentina Bosetti, Professor of Economics at Bocconi and a member of the IPCC.

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 Tuesday 19th of February 2019 and submissions can be made through this site.

https://iea2019.exordo.com

Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop 2019

This year’s Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop will be hosted by the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway on Thursday June 6th and Friday June 7th. The event is aimed at PhD students, PostDocs, early career researchers and advanced Master students based in higher education and research institutions on the island of Ireland. The meeting will feature the work and findings of scholars in economics and related fields, and will provide an excellent opportunity to present research results and work-in-progress in a welcoming and constructive environment. We strongly encourage those working on economics-related research to submit.

Format
This year the workshop will include a range of thematic sessions and training events. For participants with a full paper, thematic sessions with discussants will be available i.e. after your presentation, a discussant will present a brief assessment of your paper with feedback. For participants with early-stage/emerging research findings, thematic sessions with general open discussion of your research will be available. Both will take place on Friday June 7th, along with a short training session on ‘Publishing your Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals – Tips from Journal Editors’. In addition, a workshop on ‘An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economists’ will take place on the afternoon of Thursday June 6th, followed by a social event that evening. A full schedule will be announced in due course.

Submission
As the workshop and associated training events are free to attend, no financial assistance for travel or accommodation can be provided. Researchers wishing to submit their work for consideration are advised to submit a 2-page extended abstract to IPECE2019@gmail.com. Applicants are asked to include their name, institution or affiliation, and current academic status (PhD, PostDoc, Early Career, Masters) when submitting an abstract. Please also indicate if you would like to present at a discussant session. All of the above information should be attached in a single PDF or Word File and the deadline for abstract submission is Monday April 1st. Applicants will receive notification shortly afterwards. Please note that if you wish to be considered for a discussant session, you will be expected to submit a full paper by Monday May 20th.

Contact
The local organising committee consists of Laura Carter, John Cullinan, Jason Harold, Dan Kelleher, Doris Laepple, Shikha Sharma and Michelle Queally at NUI Galway. Please direct inquiries to IPECE2019@gmail.com.

Support
Generous support from the Irish Economic Association (IEA) and the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway is gratefully acknowledged.

Finally Someone Noticed

I have been puzzled since the withdrawal agreement terms first emerged that the UK is to be credited with no more than its subscribed capital on exit from the European Investment Bank. The EIB makes serious money, has not paid dividends and must be the most solvent bank around, This from the House of Lords Committee yesterday:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/eu-financial-affairs-subcommittee/news-parliament-2017/brexit-eib-report-published/

‘The Government failed to provide a satisfactory explanation of its negotiation position on the return of the UK’s capital. As a profitable business, there seems to be a plausible case that the UK should receive some share of that profit. A 16.1 percent share of the EIB’s retained earnings would be €7.6 billion, almost 20 percent of the UK’s financial settlement of £35–39 billion.’

The UK gets just €3.5 billion. The implied price-to-book is a steal for the surviving shareholders.

2019 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture – Philip Lane

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

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

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

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

A Short History of Brexit (Part 2: notes from Chapter 8 on)

CHAPTER 8: BREXIT

  1. Young (1999), p. 483.
  2. The speech is available at https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/113686.
  3. Young (1999), p. 479.
  4. Grob-Fitzgibbon (2016), pp. 438–9.
  5. The speech itself, as well as a superbly useful range of accompanying documents, is available at https://www.margaretthatcher.org/archive/Bruges.asp.
  6. Young (1999), p. 423.
  7. Grob-Fitzgibbon (2016), p. 451.
  8. Grob-Fitzgibbon (2016), p. 453; https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1990/09/27/the-chequers-affair/.
  9. A reference presumably to the European Commission’s Commissioners.
  10. Cited in Seldon and Collings (2000).
  11. Young (1999), p. 362.
  12. https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/108234.
  13. http://www.britpolitics.co.uk/speeches-sir-geoffrey-howe-resignation.
  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/1701003.stm.
  15. Young (1999), p. 433.
  16. I have put the word ‘victory’ in inverted commas to highlight the way in which much of the British political class and media have traditionally portrayed EU negotiations in terms of victory and defeat, rather than compromise and mutual benefit.
  17. The origins of these numbers, which seem arbitrary, are murky. On one account the 3 per cent figure is, like VAT, a gift from France to the world: see https://www.latribune.fr/opinions/tribunes/20101001trib000554871/ a-l-origine-du-deficit-a-3-du-pib-une-invention-100-francaise.html.
  18. Which is why I and 38 other Irish citizens were able to stand for election in the French municipal elections of 2014. And it should be noted that there were also 389 British candidates; see http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/le-scan/decryptages/2014/03/19/25003-20140319ARTFIG00358-d-o-viennent-les-candidats-etrangers-aux-municipales.php.
  19. See Eichengreen and Wyplosz (1993) for a detailed account of the EMS crisis of 1992–3. Like all the Brookings Papers it is freely available online at https://www.brookings.edu/project/brookings-papers-on-economic-activity/.
  20. Young (1999), p. 369.
  21. Both statements are equally true of the Clinton years.
  22. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37550629. 23. Shipman (2017), p. 6.
  23. Kenny and Pearce (2018). 25. Ibid., pp. 131, 145.
  24. Shipman (2017), p. 7.
  25. Ibid., p. 8.
  26. Delors’s statement is available at https://core.ac.uk/display/76794060; the quotations in the text are taken from pp. 17–18.
  27.   Gstöhl (1994).
  28. Shipman (2017), p. 15.
  29. Available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/21787/0216-euco-conclusions.pdf.
  30. Shipman (2017), pp. 588–9.
  31. See O’Toole (2018).
  32. See for example https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/boris-johnson-european-union-hitler-1.3583108.
  33. Although I was a member of the Centre for European Reform’s Commission on the UK and the Single Market, I declined to sign a resultant letter to the newspapers on what the UK ought to do, as well as similar subsequent efforts, for two reasons. First, I’m not British, and I know from the Irish experience how irritating it is to have foreigners telling you what to do at times like this. And second, it wasn’t at all clear to me that economists’ letters were particularly helpful. On that score at least, I think I was (unfortunately) right.
  34. The statement led to a sharp rise in the British pound and a bigger subsequent collapse, all of which helped certain lucky investors to make a lot of money (Shipman 2017, pp. 432–4).

Continue reading “A Short History of Brexit (Part 2: notes from Chapter 8 on)”

Economic and Social Review, Winter 2018

The latest edition of the Economic and Social Review is  now available (Vol 49, No 4, Winter 2018) containing the following articles:

The Impact of Displacement on the Earnings of Workers in Ireland by           Nóirín McCarthy and Peter W. Wright

Incumbency Advantage in an Electoral Contest by Matthew T. Cole,             Ivan Pastine and Tuvana Pastine

Re-Examining the Relationship Between Export Upgrading and Economic Growth: Is there a Threshold Effect? by Saafi Sami and Nouira Ridha

Policy Section Articles

Making the Worst of a Bad Situation: A Note on Irexit by Ronald B. Davies and Joseph Francois

Optimum Territorial Reforms in Local Government: An Empirical Analysis of Scale Economies in Ireland  by Gerard Turley, John McDonagh,             Stephen McNena and Arkadiusz Grzedzinski

A Contingent Valuation Analysis of the Galway City Museum: Welfare Estimates for Attendance in the Absence of an Admission Fee by               Vincent G. Munley

NTA RECOMMENDS NO FURTHER TENDERING OF DUBLIN BUS SERVICES (updated)

Under this rather stark headline, the National Transport Authority (NTA) issued a press statement on 2nd October last, giving a little under a month for responses to be received. The NTA was proposing, for reasons set out in a consultation paper  and technical report to award a further five-year monopoly to Dublin Bus.

A decision is due from the NTA Board this month (see item 8).

On its establishment, the NTA’s first act was to award an initial five-year monopoly to Dublin Bus (as well as to Bus Eireann and Irish Rail).  Five years later, which was five years ago, a second almost-complete monopoly was awarded, except that 10% of services were to be tendered for competitively. Bus users will see that these services are just now beginning to be operated by Go-Ahead in certain parts of Dublin.

Now, the NTA proposes to tender no more. Some competition-sympathising acquaintances and I have made a submission to the Authority for its consideration. Here is the executive summary; the Association referred to is a new group, the Competition Advocacy Association (of which more later):
Continue reading “NTA RECOMMENDS NO FURTHER TENDERING OF DUBLIN BUS SERVICES (updated)”

Une brève histoire du Brexit

I have just published a short history of Brexit. In the latter chapters, dealing with the Single Market, Brexit, and the subsequent negotiations, a lot of the (mainly official) sources used are freely available online. In order to make it easier for the interested reader to consult these sources, and find out more about the EU and Brexit, I am reproducing the endnotes below.

Cher lecteur, chère lectrice: veuillez trouver ci-dessous, comme promis dans mon livre, les notes de bas de page. J’espère que cela facilitera ceux et celles qui souhaitent approfondir encore davantage leur connaissances sur l’Union européenne, le Brexit et les négociations sur le Brexit. A ce jour les liens fonctionnent tous, mais si vous trouvez des erreurs faites-le moi savoir et je ferai le nécessaire.

Continue reading “Une brève histoire du Brexit”

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.

Statistical Codology

Tim Harford, in his column last Saturday in the Financial Times, laments the innumeracy which pervades the popular press and much of the political debate. There are people unable to remember the difference between a million and a billion constantly pontificating on weighty economic issues of all descriptions in both print and broadcast media. My favourite category of statistical codology is the university ranking tables now produced in profusion by various self-appointed scorekeepers, notably the Times Higher Education Supplement which ought to know better. The Irish newspapers reported last week the sad news that Trinity College Dublin had fallen from 117th best university in the whole wide world to a mere 120th according to this venerable source. It has fallen behind the University of York, the shame of it, and has managed to stay just an inch ahead of the University of Oslo (phew!).
Unreported was the even sadder news that the Cork City football team, last season’s Irish champions, are now ranked a humble 160th in the world, down from the heady heights of 157th this time last year and just a corner-kick ahead of Croatia’s Rijeka FC. This vital info can be gleaned from footballdatabase.com, who must be wondering why their number-crunching attracts so little coverage.
There is a simple reason. Football fans know that these rankings mean nothing whatsoever. If anyone really needed to know whether Cork or Rijeka boasts the better team, say if they were drawn against one another in some competition, the matter takes ninety minutes to resolve. How though do you check if Trinity or Oslo has the better university? A ninety-minute showdown between the staff of the two institutions would be quite a spectacle but could turn ugly.
The attraction of the university rankings for journalists is precisely that they are meaningless and accordingly incontrovertible. The winner in the latest league table for world’s best university was none other than the University of Oxford, whose distinguished alumni include Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron and just about all the other folks who have been doing such a spiffing job on Brexit. Which does not mean that Oxford is a poor university. It just means that the concept of university league tables is for the birds. Football league tables (based on the results of actual matches between the teams in each league) are at the upper end of respectable scientific practice by comparison. It looks like Dundalk will relieve Cork of their title as the season draws to a close. But since each team will have played 36 games against the rest this really does suggest that Dundalk have the best team.
However daft the concept and dodgy the statistical methodology, the university tables have their uses. The recent declines in the rankings for the Irish colleges have fuelled demands from their presidents for extra taxpayer cash. A few years back the same tables were showing an advance up the rankings, proof positive, according to the same people, that public spending on universities was delivering the goods and should be increased.
Brexit provides another example of the innumeracy which annoys Tim Harford. The UK’s annual and recurring net contribution to the EU budget has recently been running at about £9 billion per annum, a large number with lots of zeroes. This number, not to be confused with the once-off exit bill, has been ventilated by Brexiteers as, quite properly, a potential ongoing benefit to the Treasury of a full exit. Another figure in circulation is the population of the EU-27 which comes in around 450 million, not quite so large a number but lots of zeroes too. There have been regular assertions that the loss of the UK’s money will cause great damage to the finances of the EU-27: the political editor of the Sunday Express Camilla Tominey ventured that it would ‘bankrupt the European Union’ on a BBC programme, without challenge, a few months back. Nobody at the BBC, it would appear, has thus far bothered to divide the larger of these two big numbers by the smaller. The answer turns out to be £20 per head per annum. Total government revenue in the EU-27 is close to £4,000 billion. The UK’s £9 billion will be missed, but not noticed.
Some people are good at figures but most are not and are lost with very large numbers. Tim Harford’s solution is a call for better statistical training in schools and universities. Even at Oxford this looks a wee bit optimistic. There is however no excuse for the sloppiness about statistical matters in well-resourced media organisations. Here’s another very large number: the BBC gets about £3.5 billion per annum from the license fee, surely enough to engage the services of a statistician, or to buy everyone a pocket calculator. (courtesy the Farmers Journal).

Economic and Social Review, Autumn 2018

The latest edition of the Economic and Social Review (Volume 49, No.3) is now available, containing the following research and policy articles:

Articles

Job Insecurity and Well-being in Rich Democracies by Arne L. Kalleberg

Economic Stress and the Great Recession in Ireland: The Erosion of Social Class Advantage by Christopher T. Whelan, Brian Nolan and Bertrand Maitre

Household Formation and Tenure Choice: Did the Great Irish Housing Bust alter Consumer Behaviour? by David Byrne, David Duffy and John FitzGerald

Policy Articles

An Analysis of Taxation Supports for Private Pension Provision in Ireland by Shane Whelan and Maeve Hally

The Precarious Position of Drug Education Workers in Ireland by Clay Darcy

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.