Launch of “The Economy of Ireland: Policy-Making in a Global Context”

Posted on: 05 October 2017

The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Paschal Donohoe TD launched the thirteenth edition of the successful Economy of Ireland book at a reception hosted by the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast recently. The evening was also a celebration of Minister Donohoe’s outstanding contribution to public service.

The Economy of Ireland: Policy-Making in a Global Context, edited by Trinity economists Emeritus Professor of Economics, John O’Hagan and Associate Professor in Economics Francis O’Toole, takes a long term-term historical perspective to economic issues while exploring the changing circumstances and policy issues facing the Irish Economy today.

Editors Associate Professor Francis O'Toole (left) and Professor John O'Hagan (right) pictured with Minister Paschal Donohoe, Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast and Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Professor Gail McElroy

Commenting on the launch of the book Professor John O’Hagan said: “It has been a privilege to work with Ireland’s top economists on this book over the last forty years. Contributors have not only included leading academics but also prominent public figures such as former Taoiseach Dr Garrett Fitzgerald, influential public servant TK Whitaker and the current Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Professor Philip Lane. The aim of the book has always been to both inform and provoke debate by making economic policy issues accessible to current policymakers and today’s students -the policymakers and indeed government ministers of the future”.

The book launch provided a fitting opportunity to honour Minister Donohoe for his achievements. An economics and political science graduate Paschal is the first Trinity alumnus to be appointed Minister for Finance. “We could not fail to be proud of Paschal – to point to him as an example to our students. But what makes us not only proud, but even in a sense, proprietorial, is that he is so definite about the part that the College played in his success,” commented Provost Prendergast in his speech at the launch.

While The Economy of Ireland has been the core text for students of the Irish economy since it was first published in 1975 it also has a broader appeal to a wider lay audience interested in a long-term overview of the economy and the principles that govern its operation.

The breadth of the book’s content spans Ireland’s economic history and the policy priorities for a small regional economy, through to an in depth assessment of Irish performance in terms of employment and migration, living standards and equity. The book provides a detailed analysis of six key sectors of the economy: agriculture and food, manufacturing and internationally-traded services, energy, housing, education and health and also critically assesses the policy instruments available to the state to effect policy, namely expenditure, taxation and regulation.

Commenting on the book’s publication Dr Francis O’Toole said: “This book takes a long-term historical perspective, a perspective that is salutatory in reminding us that booms come to an end and in the more recent context that the bad times do not last for ever.

It aims to provide a balanced assessment of complex issues and to provide relevant and timely evidence related to policy areas such as housing, taxation and the possible future of the Euro zone.  In many cases the evidence provided runs contrary to some widely-held beliefs.”

About the Authors

John O’Hagan has worked in Trinity College Dublin since 1970 and has been Professor of Economics since 2005 (Professor Emeritus since October 2016). He is a leading authority on the political economy of Ireland and is a distinguished expert in cultural economics, with a particular interest in the migration and clustering of creative workers.  

Francis O'Toole is Associate Professor of Economics and Head of Department of Economics in Trinity College. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of the Economics of Competition Policy and the Economics of Public Policy. He has also advised Irish competition and regulatory authorities and state bodies in the area of the economics of competition policy and regulation.