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A Critical Reflection on Irish Industrial Policy: A Strategic Choice Approach


  • David Bailey
  • Helena Lenihan


This paper offers a critical evaluation of recent Irish industrial policy (IP) experience. It argues that whilst Ireland managed to get some things "right" through its IP, substantial tensions arose through making foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction the centrepiece of policy, without at the same time adopting a more holistic approach in IP which inter alia also placed an emphasis on indigenous firms and entrepreneurship more generally. In particular, greater efforts should have been made much earlier in attempting to embed transnational corporation (TNC)-led activity better into the wider economy, in fostering domestic small firms and entrepreneurship, in promoting clusters, and more generally in evaluating IP more fully - notwithstanding the context which mitigated against such actions. As a result, Ireland as an economy remained vulnerable to strategic decisions made elsewhere by TNC decision makers, with IP effectively contributing to a situation that can be characterised as institutional and strategic failure. Overall, the paper suggests that wholesale emulation of the Irish IP approach is problematic.

Suggested Citation

  • David Bailey & Helena Lenihan, 2015. "A Critical Reflection on Irish Industrial Policy: A Strategic Choice Approach," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 47-71, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:22:y:2015:i:1:p:47-71
    DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2014.993218

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frances Ruane & Ali Ugur, 2005. "Export Platform FDI and Dualistic Development," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp028, IIIS.
    2. Frances Ruane & Ali Ugur, 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment And Host Country Wages: New Evidence From Irish Plant Level Panel Data," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp029, IIIS.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Iammarino, 2018. "FDI and regional development policy," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 1(3), pages 157-183, December.
    2. Olubunmi Ipinnaiye & Declan Dineen & Helena Lenihan, 2017. "Drivers of SME performance: a holistic and multivariate approach," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 883-911, April.
    3. Olubunmi Ipinnaiye & Declan Dineen & Helena Lenihan, 2016. "Analysing the Drivers of Services Firm Performance: Evidence for Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 47(2), pages 213-245.
    4. Yu Hsing, 2016. "Is Real Depreciation Expansionary? The Case of Ireland," Bulletin of Applied Economics, Risk Market Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-9.

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