How Governments Retrench In Crisis: The Case of Ireland
The Irish experience of fiscal retrenchment under crisis conditions poses new questions of governance, the evolving answers to which are likely to involve importance changes in the state’s organizational profile and in its policy competences. The government is required to formulate and implement extremely tough choices, particularly since Ireland entered an EU-IMF loan programme in November 2010. Yet government does retain some policy discretion in the priorities it adopts in the composition of budget adjustment and in the distributive impact of cuts. This paper sets out to explore where the adjustments have been made through examination both of the composition of budgets and of the organizational configuration of state institutions, and it analyses how these outcomes can be accounted for. The paper draws upon a new official database setting out a detailed compositional analysis of Irish public spending between 2008 and 2012, and upon the Irish State Administration Database (http://isad.ie) through which the organizational aspects of the state's policy capacity can be analysed.
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