GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in Ireland
The aim of this country report for Ireland is to present and examine key patterns and trends in the inequality ‘drivers’ on which the project is concentrating, highlight their potential impacts in the social, political and cultural spheres and the available evidence in that regard, and point to the role of relevant institutions and policies in ameliorating or exacerbating those effects. Ireland represents a very interesting case study in the light of the remarkable macroeconomic roller- coaster of recession, boom and bust experienced over the past 25-30 years. For much of the 1980s Ireland was in prolonged recession, with high unemployment rates. From the mid- 1990s, by contrast, there was the so-called 'Celtic Tiger' economic boom, whereby Ireland moved from about two-thirds of the OECD average GDP per capita to 134% of that average by 2007, with GNI per capita in current purchasing power terms more than doubling. A sustained fall in unemployment to exceptionally low levels was accompanied by an unbridled property boom and very rapid increase in levels of household debt. The economic crisis from 2007 then had a more negative impact on national output in Ireland than in any other OECD country. Falling GDP went together with the bursting of the property bubble, a collapse in asset values, a banking crisis of unprecedented proportions, and a ballooning fiscal deficit.
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