Governing the Irish Economy: A Triple Crisis
The international economic crisis hit Ireland hard from 2007 on. Ireland’s membership of the Euro had a significant effect on the policy configuration in the run-up to the crisis, as this had shaped credit availability, bank incentives, fiscal priorities, and wage bargaining practices in a variety of ways. But domestic political choices shaped the terms on which Ireland experienced the crisis. The prior configuration of domestic policy choices, the structure of decision-making, and the influence of organized interests over government, all play a vital role in explaining the scale and severity of crisis. Indeed, this paper argues that Ireland has had to manage not one economic crisis but three – financial, fiscal, and competitiveness. Initial recourse to the orthodox strategies of spending cuts and cost containment did not contain the spread of the crisis, and in November 2010 Ireland entered an EU-IMF loan agreement. This paper outlines the pathways to this outcome.
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