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Social policy and macroeconomics : the Irish experience, Volume 1
 
Author:McCarthy, F. Desmond; Country:Ireland;
Date Stored:2002/01/18Document Date:2001/12/31
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Economic Theory & Research; Poverty Assessment; National Governance; Health Monitoring & Evaluation; Labor Policies; Public Health Promotion
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:(Historic)Economic Policy
Region:Europe and Central AsiaReport Number:WPS2736
Sub Sectors:Macro/Non-TradeCollection Title:Policy, Research working paper series ; no. WPS 2736
Volume No:1  

Summary: The remarkable performance of the Irish economy in recent years has attracted much attention. Within a 10-year period the economy went from an 18 percent unemployment rate to nearly full employment, while the ratio of debt to GDP fell from 120 percent to less than 50 percent. Inevitably, this success was also accompanied by problems, as infrastructure came under increasing stress, environmental difficulties became more evident, and a changing social structure resulted in some groups becoming increasingly marginalized. What worked and what did not? In particular, are there lessons that may be relevant for other countries facing similar difficulties, especially in Asia and Latin America? McCarthy focuses on three features of Ireland's economic achievements. Two of these features are external: the opening to Europe and the role of foreign direct investment. The third and perhaps most "exportable" feature is domestic: the role of a social pact. This pact was initially between employers, trade unions, and the government. Subsequent pacts were extended to include a variety of other groups. McCarthy discusses the far-reaching impact of this series of pacts on health, poverty, employment, education, and social welfare. Ireland now faces a number of challenges, including the slowdown in the global economy, a fall in resource transfers from the European Union, and the potential effects of the entry into the EU of Hungary and Poland.

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