Geary Institute Research Collection

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The research programme of the UCD Geary Institute is conducted by a team of economists, psychologists, political scientists and others drawn from across the University and from other national and international partnerships.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 239
  • Publication
    Everyday sentiment among unionists and nationalists in a Northern Irish town
    (Taylor and Francis, 2021) ;
    Unionists and nationalists remain polarized in their political choices, increasingly so since Brexit. Does this signal increasing and dangerous division? Or have the decades of peace and agreed institutions changed the tenor of discussion in Northern Ireland? In this article, we examine the ways community relations, political division and contention are discussed by focusing on the expression of everyday sentiment among unionists and nationalists in a mixed Northern Irish town. Theoretically, it has been argued that positive sentiment raises hopes for compromise and leaves room for discussion, while negative sentiment closes off deliberation and compromise. Based on interviews, we first conduct a sentiment analysis that identifies positive versus negative sentiment expressed by the respondents, focusing on themes addressing Irish unity, unionism, Brexit, as well as personal and community life. The analysis shows that, on average, interviewees talk more positively than negatively about each theme. We then conduct a qualitative discourse analysis to investigate how positive and negative sentiment are expressed by unionist and nationalist respondents. We find that respondents name and elaborate on the political issues in contention while lowering the emotional valence of discussion. This suggests much more room for deliberation and compromise than is usually assumed.
      23Scopus© Citations 5
  • Publication
    How moderates make boundaries after protracted conflict. Everyday universalists, agonists, transformists and cosmopolitans in contemporary Northern Ireland
    This article explores how boundary making proceeds after protracted conflict has ended. Drawing on an interview and focus group study in two local areas in Northern Ireland, we identify the diverse forms of everyday boundary work amongst moderates who distance from the ethno-political blocs: everyday universalism, agonism, transformation and cosmopolitanism. Each overcomes closed exclusivist boundaries and identity oppositions, thus providing a clear contrast with the overt political contention and polarization that has followed Brexit in Northern Ireland. Our research shows the internal shape and diversity of the moderate constituency who support peace-building and a less-polarized politics. It also offers an answer to the question how such everyday openness coexists with continued political polarization. We trace the different political perspectives associated with each form of boundary making and argue that this hinders political cohesion amongst moderates.
      18Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    Revealing a Hidden Cost: determining the public service cost of poverty in Ireland
    (UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, 2022-09-09)
    Living life on a poverty income is common in Irish society. Between 2010-20, on average one in seven people lived on an income below the poverty line – approximately 720,000 individuals. By necessity living life on such a low-income imposes costs on these individuals and families. Making ends meet involves personal sacrifices, restricts options and limits opportunities; and for many it is not always possible to find ways to make ends meet. These individual costs of poverty are large scale and leave effects that last years and at times generations. Alongside these individual costs, poverty is responsible for other costs. In particular, the presence of poverty in a society triggers demands on the public purse. These costs derive from the identification of poverty as a determining factor in the need for, and demand for, a wide range of public services and policies ranging across almost all areas of public policy. Building on past literature from the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand this study attempts to establish a heretofore absent benchmark for the recurring annual costs to the state of poverty in Ireland. In doing so it adopts a different approach to the existing literature, drawing from experiences in the economic evaluation literature, to determine a range of costs rather than just one figure. These range from a conservative ‘low estimate’ to an upper-limit ‘high estimate’ with a ‘main estimate’ reflecting the most probable annual cost. The analysis is based on a review of €27.9 billion of annual public service expenditure and highlight for all members of society, whether above or below the poverty line, the recurring public expenditure costs incurred by society as a result of poverty.
  • Publication
    Low Paid Older Workers: a quantitative and qualitative profile of low pay among workers aged over 50
    (University College Dublin, 2022-11-25) ;
    Research on the topic of low pay has experienced a revival in Ireland over recent years triggered by a greater policy shift towards understanding and addressing low pay, growing interest in the challenges of employment precarity, and greater research and policy engagement on the relationship between earnings and living standards. While the overall scale and composition of low paid employment is now much better understood, there has been less focus on the nature and experiences of low pay among specific cohorts of the labour force. This research report examines one heretofore underexplored group, older workers in low pay and aims to establish insights into the scale and experience of low pay among employees aged 50 years and older. It brings together themes of ageing populations, labour market earnings and living conditions to explore the following questions: • what is the scale and profile of low pay among older workers? • does low pay differ between older workers and the low paid in general, and if so, how? • does the household and financial situation of older workers differ from that of the low paid in general, and if so, how? • what are the reasons behind why older workers become and remain low paid? • how do these workers evaluate their rate of pay given the work that they do? The study takes a mixed-methods approach using both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore these questions. While either of these methodological approaches could be taken by themselves to examine this issue, there are benefits associated with combining both so that the research analysis and findings offer a more comprehensive understanding of the nature, scale, contexts and experiences of low pay among older workers in Ireland.
  • Publication
    Assessing Household’s Living Standards and Income Resilience at the outset of the Cost-of-Living Crisis
    (Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, 2023-03-01)
    This paper explores the living standards of Ireland’s 1.9 million households at the outset of the 2021/23 cost-of-living crisis and considers the heterogeneous experience of that crisis by households across income distribution. The widespread nature of price increases, and their particular impact on areas of large recurring household expenditure (e.g. food, fuel and energy), has resulted in a cost-of-living crisis impacting all households, although some faced into the crisis with a better ability to absorb, or manage, these higher living costs. Using data from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) the paper considers the living standards of households at the outset of the crisis, and based on this assesses their capacity to absorb increases in nominal living costs. Using data on the subjective assessment of household’s ability to make ends meet, it classifies households into those who were already struggling, those who were unlikely to be able to absorb a marked increase in nominal living costs, and those with sufficient means to manage these cost increases despite their scale. The paper poses three research questions: What were living standards like prior to the crisis? What ability had households to absorb large nominal increases in living costs? Which households were most impacted by the crisis? Households are examined across the income distribution and within other socio-economic classifications such as household composition and tenure. The analysis therefore aims to provide a more comprehensive picture of the resilience, or otherwise, of Irish households as they faced into the cost-of-living crisis.