OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland

Frequency :
Every 18 months
ISSN :
1999-0324 (online)
ISSN :
1995-3267 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/19990324
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Irish economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2013

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
12 Sep 2013
Pages :
123
ISBN :
9789264219687 (EPUB) ; 9789264183117 (PDF) ; 9789264183100 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/eco_surveys-irl-2013-en

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OECD's 2013 Economic Survey of Ireland examines recent economic developemnts, policies and prospects. This issue's special chapters cover youth employment and innovation.

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    BASIC STATISTICS OF IRELAND, 2012

    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries.The economic situation and policies of Ireland were reviewed by the Committee on 11 July 2013. The draft report was then revised in the light of the discussions and given final approval as the agreed report of the whole Committee on 31 July 2013.The Secretariat’s draft report was prepared for the Committee by David Haugh and Alberto Gonzalez Pandiella under the supervision of Patrick Lenain. Research assistance was provided by Josette Rabesona.The previous Survey of Ireland was issued in October 2011.

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    Executive summary

    One of the first euro area countries to have been hit by a large financial crisis, Ireland is now emerging from its difficulties and gradually regaining access to market financing. Activity is slowly recovering, the unemployment rate has started a gradual decline, cost-competitiveness has improved, and strong exports have helped to eliminate the external deficit. Recapitalisation of the banking system, determined and sustained fiscal policy action and growth-enhancing reforms along with strong political and social buy-in have helped to restore market confidence and reduce sovereign borrowing costs. The debt-to-GDP ratio, which has been rising sharply, is now approaching a turning point and, at somewhat above 120%, the budget strategy rightly aims at putting it on a sustained downward path.

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    Assessment and recommendations

    Ireland is getting back on its feet after a severe banking and fiscal crisis. Determined structural reforms and fiscal consolidation () have helped to rebalance the economy, which is recovering gradually, and underpinned a successful return to the sovereign bond market at declining costs (). However, the crisis has left a legacy of unemployment and debts, amongst the highest in the OECD. Now is the time to implement policies that will promote sustainable growth and job creation, including by reforming public institutions and regulations.

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    Getting youth on the job track

    Irish youth was hit hard by the crisis. Many young workers have remained unemployed for a long time and, unless it is tackled promptly, this issue will become one of the most enduring legacies of the recession. New labour-market policy initiatives have been introduced recently, but more will be needed to limit scarring effects and keep youth connected so that they can get back to work as soon as the recovery strengthens. For many young workers learning new skills is the way to get ready. The Irish economy is shifting away from bricks and mortar towards knowledge-based services, and those previously employed in construction-related activities need to acquire the skills and competencies required in these expanding sectors. For those who have already drifted into more marginalised environments, a longer process of rehabilitation will be necessary to escape poverty and social exclusion. This chapter recommends focusing limited fiscal resources on policies empirically-proven to help regain employment; this will require systematic and rigorous evaluation of labour-market programmes and policy decisions to close down ineffective schemes while strengthening successful ones.

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    From bricks to brains: Increasing the contribution of knowledge-based capital to growth in Ireland

    With sound framework conditions, fine universities, good infrastructure and policies friendly towards foreign direct investment, Ireland scores high in international innovation scoreboards. Overall, policies to boost innovation and entrepreneurship are on the right track, but investment in knowledge-based capital could be made a more dynamic source of growth and jobs. While Ireland has made good progress towards building up its scientific capabilities, innovation capacity remains weaker than in other small advanced OECD countries, such as Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. To become more effective, the innovation strategy should be simplified, with a drastic reduction in the number of government agencies involved in funding innovation, so as to better focus on strengthening the linkages between the business and academic communities. While attracting high-tech multinationals should remain central, there is potential to better develop spillovers between these firms and domestic SMEs, notably by establishing applied research centres. Entrepreneurship should be fostered by improving the business environment, including access to non-bank finance, streamlining the insolvency regime and transfer of intellectual property rights, and upgrading the broadband network.

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