2008 OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2008

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2008

This 2008 edition of OECD's periodic survey of the Irish economy finds that it has performed remarkably well over the past decade, propelling per capita income to above the OECD average. Economic fundamentals remain strong, but economic activity is now easing. The survey examines some of the key challenges Ireland now faces including maintaining growth, the housing market slowdown, financial stability, adapting government spending to slower revenue growth, reforming the pension system, and integrating migrants.

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Assessment and recommendations

The Irish economy expanded rapidly in recent years, driven by domestic demand, but activity is now easing. In particular, the housing market has cooled: house prices are falling and fewer houses are being built. Despite the slowdown, growth could remain above the euro area average, although downside risks prevail in the short run. Economic fundamentals remain strong, however, with a skilled workforce, a flexible labour market, moderate taxation, a business-friendly regulatory environment and a still sound fiscal position. Following many years of a booming economy, slowing economic activity will test the resilience of the drivers of economic growth, and the fiscal, financial and macroeconomic frameworks. At the same time, the physical infrastructure and public services need to be improved further. Ireland should also ensure that social progress is sustainable in the long term, particularly as the population ages.

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