Now showing 1 - 10 of 51
  • Publication
    The Irish Experience
    (Birlinn Books, 2013-06)
  • Publication
    Rethinking the political economy of fiscal consolidation in two recessions in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2013-10)
    Ireland has been taken to be an exemplary case of successful growth-promoting fiscal retrenchment, not once but twice – first, in the fiscal consolidation undertaken in the late 1980s, which was taken as one of the classic original instances of ‘expansionary fiscal contraction’, and again now, in the context of meeting the fiscal deficit targets set by the current EC-ECB-IMF loan conditions. This paper argues that many of the apparent lessons drawn from Ireland’s experience turn out to be more complex and even misplaced upon closer inspection. Ireland was never an instance of ‘expansionary fiscal contraction’ in the sense in which it now understood, in the late 1980s; and the conditions that facilitated the restoration of growth at that time are no longer possible now. Firstly, the paper shows that standard methodologies for identifying the object of interest in fiscal consolidation misses out on what is really central, which is the ongoing politics of ‘fiscal effort’. Secondly, this approach challenges conventional ideas about the primacy of spending cuts over tax increases. Thirdly, Ireland’s fiscal stabilization in the earlier period depended on devaluation, international growth, and strong social pacts. None of these conditions is present in the ‘internal devaluation’ under way since 2008. Ireland has committed to fulfilling the terms of the EU-ECB-IMF loan programme, but there are few grounds for anticipating that this will of itself result in the resumption of growth. Fiscal adjustment efforts are much more painful without the growth-promoting contextual conditions that were present in the earlier period.
  • Publication
    From Tiger to PIIGS: Ireland and the use of heuristics in comparative political economy
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2013-10) ;
    Acronyms for groups of countries provide an often useful shorthand to capture emergent similarities, and terms such as PIIGS, BRICs and LDCs pervade the lexicon of international and comparative political economy. But they can also lead to misleading narratives, since the grounds for use of these terms as heuristic devices are usually not well elaborated. This can become problematic when the use of such heuristics drives market responses in areas such as risk perception and changes in interest rates. In this paper we look at the narrative construction of the group of countries that has been grouped as ‘PIIGS’ (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain). We examine the process whereby the group came into being, trace how Ireland became a member of this grouping, and assess the merits of classifying these countries together. Our contention is that the repetition of the acronym in public debate shaped the behaviour of market actors toward these countries. We find evidence of Granger causality, such that increased media usage of the term ‘PIIGS’ is followed by converging interest rate correlations between Ireland and the other PIIGS, compared to the interest rate correlations between Ireland and the ‘northern’ Eurozone economies. We argue that this is a pointer toward the independent effect of perceptions and discourse over economic fundamentals. We conclude with more general thoughts and cautions on the use of heuristics in comparative political economy.
  • Publication
    Breaking with or building on the past? Reforming Irish public administration : 1958-2008
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009) ;
    The Irish experience of public service reform provides a unique case study of institutional change and resilience, and offers new perspectives on public service reform in “Anglo-Saxon” administrative systems. The data used for this paper provides for new perspectives on how we understand a core aspect of the Irish state, and how we can conceptualise attempts to reform it. Using insights from organisational and neo-institutional theory, and drawing on data from the new Mapping the State database, this paper identifies drivers of administrative reform during the period 1958-2008 as well as key periods of institutional change that determined the trajectory of reform processes. The paper considers the effects of Irish economic reform in the late 1950s on the public administration, culminating in the work of the Public Service Organisation Review Group (1966-69). It also examines the emerging influence of market and new right ideas in the 1980s and the consequences of the application of new public management styles to Ireland. Particular attention is paid to the public service reform agenda following the Strategic Management Initiative (1994) and concludes with an analysis of the recent OECD review of the Irish public service.
  • Publication
    The politics of fiscal effort in Ireland and Spain: market credibility versus political legitimacy
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014-02) ;
    Austerity measures in response to Eurozone crisis have tended to be planned and implemented as if only the technical parameters of budget management mattered. But policies that impose budgetary hardships on citizens go right to the heart of voter expectations about what it is both appropriate and acceptable for governments to do. Pro-cyclical measures that worsen an already difficult situation in a recession run counter to deep-seated norms and expectations in European countries, built up over decades of democratic governance, whereby governments are expected to provide offsetting protection for their citizens against the vicissitudes of the market. Moreover, if austerity measures are viewed as externally imposed by international authorities, new kinds of challenges to political legitimacy are likely to arise. While Greece is commonly seen as a critical test case, this chapter explores these issues through the contrasting experiences of Spain and Ireland.
  • Publication
    Creating two levels of healthcare
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-11-12) ;
  • Publication
    Puzzles of agencification : an organizational analysis
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-10-26) ;
  • Publication
    The segmented state : adaptation and maladaptation in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008) ;
    This paper is an outcome of the research project Mapping the Irish State at UCD Geary Institute, funded by a Thematic Research Grant from the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)
  • Publication
    The Politics of Tough Budgets: The Eurozone Periphery 2008-2011
    The global financial crisis opened large budget deficit and public debt problems in the countries of the Eurozone periphery –Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain. All have been required to adopt budget retrenchment measures, particularly so for the first three once they entered EU-­‐IMF loan programmes. This paper analyses the dynamics of fiscal responses to the crisis across the four cases, using the content of budget decisions and the profile of budgetary outcomes as the principal primary data. These countries provide interesting variation on several dimensions: in the origins of the crisis (with different mixes of public and private sector debt), in initial responses to the crisis (prioritizing an expansionary or a contractionary stance), in the composition of budget adjustment (revenue-­‐raising or expenditure-­‐cutting), and in the evolution of their budgetary stance over time. The paper uses the full resources of case study methods to examine the policy configurations that underpin commonality and variation, and to expose the elements involved in complex causal processes. This analytical strategy enables us to investigate the political economy conditions underpinning fiscal policy choices in hard times.