The Economic and social review

Online ISSN: 0012-9984
Publications
Article
The efficiency of birth registration in Ireland is investigated in this article by comparing the number of registered births with Census age-distributions in the period 1916-1971. It is argued that there was a sudden increase in the efficiency of birth registration in 1942-44 as a result of the greater incentives to register births, whilst a certain amount of under-registration, in the order of 3- 10% existed from 1916 to 1941. Generally speaking, registration was more complete in Leinster and Munster than in Connacht and Ulster. After 1956 birth registration was more or less complete. -Author
 
Article
Peer Reviewed: This article starts from the position that gender is crucial in understanding Irish society. Using Connell’s concept of the patriarchal dividend, and drawing on a variety of relevant literature, it explores its existence in the area of paid employment, the family and the state. It suggests that although such privileging is perceived as being under pressure, it is embedded in the practises and processes of state organisations. It concludes by suggesting that although such structures can appear inevitable, they ultimately reflect the choices of powerful men, and hence are amenable to change.
 
Article
William Moore Gorman, known to all as Terence, died in Oxford on 12 January 2003. The greatest Irish economist since Edgeworth, he was, like Edgeworth, totally unknown to the general public, both in his native country and in Britain where he made his career. He was the purest of pure theorists, whose life was devoted to scholarship and teaching, and whose work of forbidding technical difficulty was incomprehensible to most of his contemporaries. Yet, paradoxically, he was always concerned with applied issues, and the tools and theorems he developed have had a lasting influence on empirical work.
 
Article
In general elections in the Republic of Ireland 1948-1997, female candidates have received on average a lower proportion of first-preference votes than males. This disparity between male and female candidates is worsening over time. Female candidates have less electoral campaign experience than male candidates, and this helps to explain the gender gap. The declining importance of the “widow’s (or daughter’s) seat” may contribute to the worsening of the gap. When these and other variables are taken into account, a residual voter bias against female candidates is statistically significant only among supporters of Fianna Fáil; PD supporters actually favour female candidates.
 
Article
This paper analyses some key features of Irish public administration as it has developed since the foundation of the state, paying particular attention to the period from the late 1950s onward. During these decades, notwithstanding successive waves of concern expressed over the need for public sector reform, the evidence suggests an underlying lack of coherence in the evolution of the public administration system that resulted in a poor capacity for effective policy coordination. Yet the drive toward economic modernisation also resulted in the creation of new state competence to support industrial development both directly and indirectly. These changes can be tracked organisationally, drawing on the database of the IRCHSS-funded Mapping the Irish State project.
 
Article
This paper engages with and expands on a number of themes examined in Tom Garvin’s Preventing the Future. It asks if it is accurate to describe independent Ireland as poor before 1950, arguing that Ireland became poor in comparative terms only during the 1950s. While agreeing with the view that Ireland changed during the 1960s, the main contention of this article is that modernisation was severely constrained between 1959 and 1989 by the continuing dominance of traditional interests and attitudes. It also argues that Ireland’s poor economic performance was a consequence of this continuity as successive governments, privileged property owners and rural interests dominated other sectors of society. It suggests that the importance of culture and continuity in the process of change has often been underestimated and this requires closer attention if specific outcomes are to be explained in a satisfactory fashion.
 
Article
The catalytic effect of the OECD-linked study that produced Investment in Education is a much celebrated episode of Ireland’s modernisation. A remarkably broad cross-departmental consensus supported the initiative. Bureaucratic caution and ministerial self-preservation were set aside to allow a “warts and all” portrait of Irish education to be painted by the study team. Special efforts were made to focus public attention on the findings of a damning report that legitimated a quickening pace of government action to increase access to an expanded, rationalised and reoriented education system. But, as well as developmentalist triumph over conservatism in the education field, there was also significant division between state and civil society developmentalists. This is examined through an analysis of the relationship between the Federation of Lay Catholic Secondary Schools and the Department of Education.
 
Article
This paper addresses the topic of cyclicality and discretion in Irish fiscal policy. In particular, we show that the level and nature of cyclicality varies across different expenditure components and we introduce a new definition of feasible discretion to take account of political imperatives in budgetary management. We find that overall government expenditure is acyclical and is most heavily influenced by a fiscal parsimony objective. Automatic stabilisers are efficiently counter-cyclical, feasible discretionary government consumption growth is orthogonal to economic fundamentals while feasible discretionary investment growth is strongly pro-cyclical. Using official growth forecasts, we show that feasible discretionary investment growth is deliberately pro-cyclical.
 
Article
With the recent slowdown in global economic growth, there has been considerable focus in Ireland on some high-profile job losses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. This paper places such developments into a broader context and shows that aggregate changes in the net number of jobs arise from large numbers of firms both increasing and decreasing employment simultaneously at all points in time. Even at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom when employment grew by 8 per cent, this was the result of 15 per cent growth in jobs by expanding firms offset by 7 per cent of positions being eliminated in contracting firms. One important feature of job flows is that they may contribute to productivity growth by allowing movements from low to high productivity firms. To a degree, this reflects the re-allocation of jobs from declining sectors to expanding sectors, but this is not a comprehensive explanation. A significant factor underlying job flows is the reallocation within sectors from under-performing firms to expanding firms. This study also shows that productivity growth is, on balance, positive for employment growth. On the other hand, these calculations also show how hard it is for policymakers to identify firms that will be employment and productivity growth winners.
 
Article
Job creation and destruction estimates are made for Northern Ireland manufacturing using the ARD database. International comparisons suggest job creation and destruction rates in Northern Ireland were below those elsewhere. Job turnover rates exhibit the standard properties, however, with counter-cyclical job destruction and pro-cyclical job creation. A number of other key results emerge. First, small firms are the only size band for which the net change in employment was positive. Second, job turnover in small firms is less cyclical than that in larger companies. Third, firm contraction and expansion were more important sources of job creation and destruction in Northern Ireland than in the UK as a whole.
 
Article
Job creation and destruction estimates are made for Northern Ireland manufacturing using the ARD database. International comparisons suggest job creation and destruction rates in Northern Ireland were below those elsewhere. Job turnover rates exhibit the standard properties, however, with counter-cyclical job destruction and pro-cyclical job creation. A number of other key results emerge. First, small firms are the only size band for which the net change in employment was positive. Second, job turnover in small firms is less cyclical than that in larger companies. Third, firm contraction and expansion were more important sources of job creation and destruction in Northern Ireland than in the UK as a whole.
 
Educational Level Completed by Gender and Year Left School
Third-Level Participation by Gender and Year Left School
Article
The extent to which inequalities in educational outcomes persist in modern Ireland has been the subject of much debate. This paper investigates whether the rapid expansion in educational participation rates over the 1980s and early 1990s has led to a reduction in social class and gender inequalities. Using data from the annual surveys of school leavers conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute, analyses highlight marked changes in female educational participation, particularly in the third-level sector, but a remarkable persistence in class inequalities in educational attainment. Contrary to findings based on other sources (Clancy, 1995), no reduction in socio-economic inequalities is apparent in access to third-level education.
 
Article
This paper uses a Probit model to link economic fundamentals with devaluation expectations for the Irish pound over the period 1979-1994. The estimates relate to both the probability as well as the size of an expected devaluation. The model performs well in predicting the size and timing of actual realignments and estimates of devaluation expectations are consistent with previous estimates based on UIP. While the Maastricht Treaty stipulated the need for exchange rate stability prior to joining EMU, the results here show that economic variables other than those referenced in the Maastricht Treaty can lead to exchange rate instability.
 
Article
The trend in poverty in Ireland between 1980 and 1987 is analysed, using the 1980 Household Budget Survey and the ESRI 1987 Survey of Income, Distribution, Poverty and Usage of State Services. In addition to the number falling below poverty thresholds, more sophisticated aggregate poverty measures are derived, taking into account the extent to which the poor fall below the poverty line and the distribution of income among the poor. Results for the trend in poverty which are robust over a range of relative poverty lines and equivalence scales are found: these measures show an unambiguous increase in poverty between 1980 and 1987. -from Authors
 
Article
Using a survey on the first destinations of award recipients in higher education from 1982 to 1997, the trend in first destinations and starting salaries for primary level graduates in Ireland is studied. The data show that despite large increases in supply throughout the 1980s, the average real wage received by recent graduates increased by 25 per cent over the decade. This phenomenon is explained by a combination of rising emigration and increasing demand during the period. With the onset of economic recession in 1990 and lower levels of emigration and demand, the real wage fell between 1990 and 1995. The paper finds that the increase in supply during this period was the main reason for the fall in real wages.
 
Article
This paper shows that Irish relative consumer prices have changed significantly, 1985- 2001, at the ten commodity-group level. A “true” cost-of-living index is derived from Madden’s (1993) parameter estimates for an Almost Ideal Demand System. Despite relative price changes, the substitution bias of a computed Laspeyres index is small, and the official Consumer Price Index tracks the computed index closely. Superlative indices are also constructed, but are not satisfactory cost-of-living indices in this context. Cost-of-living indices are computed for different income groups, and the impact of inflation in recent years is found to be negatively correlated with income.
 
Regional Market Share Data 
Article
A ban on pricing below cost was implemented under the 1987 Groceries Order based on the premise that loss leading used in multi-product retail pricing distorts competition and exploits consumers in the short run, while driving a more concentrated structure and reducing welfare in the long run. Loss leading is examined for multi-product retailers selling in imperfectly competitive market niches with imperfect consumer information. We develop a theoretical argument in a simple two-stage framework that illustrates how loss leading on a subset of products is an equilibrium outcome of price competition that leaves overall welfare equal to that observed under laissez faire.
 
Article
Poverty dominance analysis uses stochastic dominance to provide rankings of distributions in terms of poverty which are not sensitive to the choice of poverty line. This analysis is carried out for Ireland using Household Budget Survey data for 1987 and 1994 including tests for the statistical significance of the results. We find that for a wide range of absolute poverty lines, poverty in Ireland fell over the 1987-1994 period. When relative poverty lines are used, second-order dominance for 1987 over 1994 is found for the case of expenditure and third-order dominance for 1994 over 1987 for the case of income.
 
Article
We use three different quality based rankings of the publishing record of Irish based economists in academic journals during the period 1990-2000 and 1995-2000. While individual rankings are sensitive to the range of journals sampled, the nature of the weights used in the ranking of the journals and the time span, a similar set of top economists are produced by the alternative rankings.
 
Class Composition for Men aged 20-64 in 1994 in the Republic of Ireland (Percentage by Column)
Class Mobility Chances for Men aged 20-64 in 1994 (Percentage by Column)
Modelling Relative Mobility for Men Aged 20-64 in 1994 in the Republic of Ireland: Results of Applying the Agriculture, Hierarchy and Property Model
Article
In this paper we seek to update findings relating to class mobility outcomes and processes in the Republic of Ireland employing data from the Living in Ireland Survey which was carried out in 1994. We also provide an evaluation of a measured variable model of the mobility process developed on an earlier data set. Our findings confirm that transformation of the class structure has been associated with substantial levels of social mobility. At the same time inequalities of opportunity as reflected in the underlying patterns of social fluidity remain substantial and are constant across cohorts. Gender differences are almost entirely a consequence of occupational segregation and there is no evidence that the underlying processes of class disadvantage operate differently for men and women.
 
Comparison of Industrial Concentration in Ireland with that in Other Countries 1996/97
Article
This paper estimates concentration in Irish manufacturing industry (1991-2001) by applying the McCloughan and Abounoori technique for calculating the concentration ratio given grouped data. The results suggest high aggregate concentration, which appears less a function of multi-plant operations than in the past, possibly reflecting industrial policy changes. Industrial concentration appears higher on average in Ireland than in other countries and there is a significant relationship between concentration and upper-tail size inequalities, suggesting that it is the top 1 or 2 firms that typically determine concentration. Concentration does not appear to vary with foreign ownership or export activity in Irish industry.
 
Irish-Owned Industry 1991-1999
Foreign-Owned Industry 1991-1999
Article
As job losses increased rapidly in 2003 amid calls for increased competitiveness, it becomes all the more crucial to understand the character and causes of such industrial upgrading that did occur in Ireland in the 1990s. This paper argues that despite a continuing reliance on foreign investment, there were significant elements of local industrial upgrading within the Irish economy in the 1990s. Contrary to perspectives which emphasise the learning effects associated with foreign firms, the paper suggests that such upgrading only emerged when and where local and national institutions were established to support relations of innovation and organisational development. The current difficulties in the Irish economy can be traced in significant part to the failure to deepen and extend this emergent system of innovation. The emphasis on ‘competitiveness’ in contemporary policy debate threatens to undermine the public investment, social relations and collective institution building that have been, and will continue to be, central to industrial upgrading in Ireland.
 
Article
Using plant level data from the Irish Census of Industrial Production, this paper documents the extent of the productivity spread in Irish manufacturing industries and its determinants. It looks at changes in the distribution of productivity over the period 1995-2004 and at movements of plants within the distribution. It also examines the relationship between spreads and productivity growth. The annual average productivity growth of 3.9 per cent over the period has rendered plants across the distribution more productive. However, there was less than proportional entry of new plants at the top of the productivity distribution until 2000. Persistence of plants within the productivity distribution is high, although mean convergence is faster for plants with below average productivity. Productivity growth is slower in industries with larger spreads in the lower half of the distribution.
 
Article
This paper was delivered as the Geary Lecture 2006 at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin, Ireland on 30 August. The Geary Lecture is organised each year in honour of Professor R. C. Geary (1896–1963) the first Director of The Economic and Social Research Institute and the most eminent Irish Statistician and Economist of the twentieth century. This lecture was organised in association with Penguin Books and The Irish Times.
 
Article
This is the text of the 2008 Geary Lecture, an annual lecture in honour of Roy Geary delivered at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin.
 
Article
This paper analyses the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009, published on September 8, 2009. The Act provides for the regulation of public bus passenger services, changes the name of the Dublin Transport Authority to the National Transport Authority and abolishes the Commission for Taxi Regulation. The economic importance of the Act is that it retains the restrictions on new market entry to the bus sector and continues to subsidise the sector by direct award subsidies. The policy options foregone by the Act are the alternatives of competition in the market by independent bus operators and competition through competitive tendering to provide bus services where subsidies are deemed necessary. The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill states that “… the primary purpose of the Bill is to establish a modern system for the licensing of public bus services on a national basis in the public interest, as well as the promotion of integrated well-functioning and cost efficient public passenger transpor
 
Article
Ladies and gentlemen, director, colleagues and friends: it is a great honour and a pleasure to be asked to deliver this year’s Geary lecture, coming, as it does, on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Over the years many eminent economists and sociologists have given the Geary lecture, but I believe that I am one of the few who knew Roy Geary personally because we were colleagues here during the last few years of his life. Roy Geary was the most eminent Irish statistician of the 20th century. But during the short time in which I knew him he was less concerned with statistical problems and more with the social problems of contemporary Ireland. So I hope that the topic of my lecture is one that Roy would have found both intellectually interesting and of some practical relevance. For a large part of my professional life I have worked on social mobility and so it will come as no surprise that this is the topic of my talk. Recently, governments and political parties have discovered, or rediscovered, social mobility and in some cases they have made its promotion a central theme in
 
Article
We develop a model to illustrate potential complexities in the relationship between corporate geographical diversification and the health and safety (H&S) standards set in national jurisdictions. A firm, that initially has a plant in its home country, may choose to also have one or two foreign plants in order to improve its bargaining position versus local governments, and so ensure reduced H&S standards, i.e. a race-to-the-bottom. However, contrary to the main focus of the popular debate on this topic, we note the potential for the race-to-the-bottom tendency to be exerted on H&S standards in the multinational company’s home rather than host country, and also for an upward push on H&S to instead result.
 
Article
There were hardly any banking crises between 1939 and 1971, so their later reemergence came as a surprise. Central bank supervisors responded practically by discovering and encouraging the adoption of current best practice in risk management by individual banks, without much theoretical input, whereas economists have mostly focused on models which abstract from default. But default is central to analysis of financial stability. Shubik pioneered introducing default into formal models, and we aim to develop this further. Meanwhile, estimating the probability of default (PD) for individual, or groups of, banks is central to the Basel II process.
 
Article
If people are structurally excluded from democratic engagement with research practice, they are precluded from assessing its validity in an informed manner. They are effectively disenfranchised from controlling the generation and dissemination of knowledge about themselves and/or the institutions within which they live and work. This issue is especially acute for marginalised groups and communities who are the subjects of so much social scientific research. Such research is frequently undertaken without the involvement of the groups or communities in question. The ownership of data gives researchers and policymakers power over the groups which may add to their marginalisation; there are now people who can claim to know you better than you know yourself. Without democratic engagement therefore, there is a real danger that research knowledge can be used for manipulation and control rather than challenging the injustices experienced. This paper analyses the role of research in relation to social change. It explores, in particular, the implications of utilising an emancipatory research methodology in the study of issues of equality and social justice. While recognising the difficulties involved in developing an emancipatory approach to research, it is argued that such an approach is analytically, politically, and ethically essential if research with marginalised and socially excluded groups is to have a transformative impact.
 
Article
Europe has been the driving force of economic policy in Spain over the last four decades and the key factor behind the modernisation and globalisation of the Spanish Economy. Being a founding member of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) marked the achievement of one of the key goals in the process of European integration. This process was carried out in several stages. First, trade openness, which was bolstered by Spanish accession to the EEC in 1986 and the single market in 1992, and foreign direct investment abroad and portfolio investment, which grew exponentially in the run-up to Euro membership. Second, the process of nominal convergence, which allowed a more stable macroeconomic framework. Lower inflation and fiscal consolidation have resulted in higher sustainable growth. However, the process of real integration could have been even more successful. Spain’s income per capita still lies at 84 per cent of the European average. The slow pace of reform, in particular in the labour market, with high labour costs leading to persistent unemployment, and an inappropriate policy-mix in the late 1980s prevented Spain from reaping the full benefits of integration and of EMU. Achieving real convergence is the key challenge facing the Spanish economy in the future and Europe will remain a focal point in this venture.
 
Article
In this paper we examine the distributional effects of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ireland. Using the 2004/2005 Household Budget Survey, we assess the amount of VAT that households pay as a proportion of weekly disposable income. We measure VAT payments by equivalised income decile, households of different composition and different household sizes. The current system is highly regressive. With the use of a micro-simulation model we also estimate the impact of changing the VAT rate on certain groups of items and the associated change in revenue. We also consider how the imposition of a flat rate across all goods and services would affect households in different categories. The Irish Government has recently announced that it proposes to increase the standard rate of VAT to 22 per cent in 2013 and to 23 per cent in 2014. We examine the distributional implications of such increases. The general pattern of results shows that those hardest hit are households in the first income decile, households in rural areas, 6 person households and households containing a single adult with children.
 
Persons Aged 15 to 64 Years in Employment (ILO status), with Third Level Education 
Stability of Wage Structure Over Time by Education and Age (Experience) Categories 
Comparison of Labour Indices 
Article
This paper presents annual indices of labour input adjusted for the age, education and gender distributions of the Irish workforce for the period 1999-2008. Growth in labour services is divided between the increase in hours and improvement in the productive quality of these hours. Improvement in labour quality, as proxied by education, age and gender, has added on average 0.7 percentage points per year to the growth rate in total labour input. Changes in education account for two-thirds of the improvement in labour quality, with gender and age distributions equally sharing the remaining third. Even in the face of declining total employment, growth in labour services remained positive in 2008 due to past investment in human capital. A key application of this quality-adjusted labour series is that a proportion of growth usually attributed to total factor productivity growth can now be accounted for as an improvement in the quality of labour input.
 
Article
This paper examines the contribution of Balassa-Samuelson (B-S) type effects to inflationary pressures in Ireland. Irish productivity measures are exaggerated by foreign multinationals engaged in high value-added activities. These measures suggest that high productivity in the traded sectors explain most of the inflation differential. Using adjusted measures to account for the multinational effect, shorter-term demand side factors become more significant in explaining the inflation differential. Domestic fiscal and incomes policies are therefore an important source of adjustment for the Irish economy within a monetary union.
 
Forecast Error Variance Decompositions
Article
Ireland’s participation in stage three of Economic and Monetary Union precludes exchange rate adjustment in response to asymmetric shocks. A Structural VAR model is used to decompose the effects of asymmetric supply, demand and nominal disturbances on macroeconomic imbalances between Ireland and the UK and on the Irish pound-sterling exchange rate. The results indicate that supply shocks account for a significant degree of the fluctuation in both variables. This lends weight to the view that the loss of autonomous control over the nominal exchange rate in the face of asymmetric shocks is a significant one, thus increasing the importance of alternative adjustment mechanisms for the Irish economy.
 
Highest Educational Qualifications by Social Class of Origin and Gender 
Education Transitions by Sex and Cohort 
Article
Substantial increases in participation rates at secondary and third level in recent years have often been assumed to be associated with increased equality of opportunity. However, there is little evidence from elsewhere that expansion per se, except when it takes the form of saturation of the demand from higher classes, leads to a reduction in class inequalities. In exploring the factors that contribute to trends over time, or to a distinctive position in comparison with other countries, we have drawn on the recent literature to argue that the crucial factors are those which affect decisions to continue in education. We have also operated on the assumption that students and their parents rationally consider the costs and benefits associated with educational choices. The most recent evidence relating to the adult population provides no support for the existence of any trend towards equality of educational opportunity. It is, rather consistent with the class reproduction perspective that stresses the ability of privileged classes to maintain their advantages.
 
Article
Dublin’s current boom shares many features with urban booms elsewhere. In this short paper, I suggest applying an open city framework to Dublin and looking at this framework’s implications for two policies closely related to housing. I conclude with a scheme that should accompany future Dublin development.
 
Article
A Markov-switching model with time-varying transition probabilities is applied to sub- Saharan African data to examine the link between output collapses and growth. In the model, the growth rate moves discretely between two regimes; one characterised by a stable positive average growth rate, and a collapse regime characterised by negative and volatile growth rate. The aim is to derive plausible estimates of the transition probabilities for the Markov chain component. These estimates are then included in a vector of time-varying country-specific variables for the Markov-switching estimation. The results show that the probability of an economy remaining in a stable growth regime increases with institutional quality, education, improving terms of trade and increased concentration on manufacturing industries. The analysis takes into account the fact that the dynamics of output following a large collapse differs significantly from the dynamics of output during more stable time periods by taking a non-linear approach.
 
Article
Using the statistical distributional approach of aggregation by Hildenbrand and Kneip (1999, 2002), this paper attempts to find out to what extent current labour income can explain the relative change in aggregate consumption expenditure. The coefficients of the changes in the income distribution are estimated as an average derivative of the cross-section Engel curve. We use the UK-FES [1974-1993] to estimate these coefficients separately for each year by a nonparametric estimation procedure. It is found that the change in current labour income plays a significant role for the commodity groups services and total nondurable, thereby contradicting the implications of the traditional life-cycle/permanent income hypothesis. For services the inclusion of dispersion in addition to the mean of the income distribution improves the goodness-of-fit of the model.
 
Percentage Childless by Duration
Marriage Duration, Fertility and Mortality in Ireland and in Dublin Before 1911
Average Age at Marriage in Little Jerusalem
Duration and Average Number of Children
Article
This paper examines the demography of Ireland’s Jewish community a century ago. Its focus is on Dublin Jewry, then mainly a community of immigrants from the Tsarist Empire and their children. It compares the marital fertility and infant and child mortality of immigrant couples with those of native couples living in the same neighbourhood. While ‘economic’ variables are shown to have mattered, there remains a large ‘cultural’ component to the distinctive demography of Jewish households.
 
Estimation Results a
Article
In international trade literature there is a common feature that the abolishment of barriers to trade leads to direct expansion of trade flows. Many empirical studies that simulate welfare effects of trade liberalisation explicitly make use of this direct tariff reduction – trade expansion mechanism. On the contrary, this paper explores panel data to analyse the timedependent efficiency of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). It is shown that trade liberalisation per se needs time to become effective, and that immediately after the enforcement of the FTA the autonomous factors (such as domestic demand for particular import goods) are of great importance. Using an illustrative case of rapid expansion of Slovenian imports from other CEECs in the period 1993–1998, the paper demonstrates that the tariff reductions become effective in the second to third year after enforcement of the FTA. In addition, the relation between tariff reductions and trade expansions is non-linear, which reflects the time needed for new business connections to be established.
 
Article
This paper investigates the contribution of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the process of social differentiation in contemporary rural Ireland. It traces the evolution of the CAP from its inception in 1962, and evaluates the social implications of two rounds of CAP reform and the recent introduction of agri-environmental schemes. It is argued that the underlying productivist rationale of the CAP has exacerbated the marginalisation of smaller farmers, especially in marginal areas. The recent introduction of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) has cast these farmers in the role of environmental managers, while productivist agriculture continues unabated in other regions of the country.
 
Annual Average Technical Efficiency by Farm System (1984 = 1000)
Summary Statistics of Variables in the Stochastic Production Function
Characteristics of the Most and Least Inefficient Farms
Percentage of Least and Most Inefficient Farms by System of Farming
Results of the Technical Efficiency Analysis
Article
This paper calculates average technical efficiency levels and rates of technical change for Irish agriculture using an unbalanced panel of 2,603 farms drawn from the Irish National Farm Survey over the period 1984 to 1998. An average technical efficiency level of between 65 and 70 per cent with a slight upward trend over the period was found. The efficiency of individual farms is positively associated with the size of the farm household, the ratio of debt to assets and the farmer’s age, and negatively related to being located in the West of Ireland, having an off-farm job and size of farm. Technical progress is observed at an unweighted rate of approximately 0.9 per cent and a weighted rate of 2.1 per cent per annum over the 1984-98 period. There is evidence that this rate of growth has been slowing over time. Technical progress was considerably faster on farms in the East of the country compared to Western farms, on larger farms compared to smaller ones, and on dairy and tillage farms compared to cattle and sheep farms.
 
Article
We model the behaviour of the Irish suicide rate over the period 1968-2009 using the unemployment rate and the level of alcohol consumption as the principal explanatory variables. We find that alcohol consumption is a significant influence on the suicide rate among younger males. Its influence on the female suicide rate is not well-established, although there is some evidence that it plays a role in the 15-24 age group. The unemployment rate is also a significant influence on the male suicide rate in the younger age groups but evidence of its influence on the female suicide rate is lacking. The behaviour of suicide rates among males aged 55 and over and females aged 25 and over is unaccounted for by our model. The findings suggest that higher alcohol consumption played a significant role in the very rapid increase in suicide mortality among young Irish males between the late 1980s and the end of the century. In the early twenty first century a combination of falling alcohol consumption and low unemployment led to a marked reduction in suicide rates. The recent rise in suicide rates may be attributed to the sharp rise in unemployment, especially among males, but it has been moderated by the continuing fall in alcohol consumption. Finally, we discuss some policy implications of our findings.
 
Top-cited authors
Alan Barrett
  • Economic and Social Research Institute
Brian Nolan
  • University of Oxford
Christopher T. Whelan
  • University College Dublin
Jeffrey David Sachs
  • Columbia University
David Duffy
  • Economic and Social Research Institute