2009 OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2009

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2009

OECD's 2009 review of Ireland's economy.  This edition's special feature covers the labour market in Ireland.

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Boosting competitiveness and raising living standards

Living standards in Ireland will remain high, despite the severe contraction, but stronger structural policies would encourage sustainable long-run growth. Hard times can be a good time to make overdue reforms and these would also help improve competitiveness. Policies are already favourable to competition in many respects, but market forces are weak in the network industries and parts of the services sector. Prices could be lowered by measures to increase competition. The infrastructure has been upgraded but more investment is needed, although plans in the short term need to adjust in light of budgetary constraints, and the efficiency of infrastructure use could be improved. Ireland has benefitted from past improvements in education. While performance is good, there is scope to improve educational outcomes. Pre-primary education and in-work training should ultimately be increased. Innovation spending has increased rapidly but from a low base. Achieving environmentally sustainable growth is a major challenge and it will be difficult for Ireland to meet its commitments to reducing carbon emissions. While environmental policy has improved, there are significant weaknesses in management of waste.

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