IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Social policy and macroeconomics : the Irish experience


  • McCarthy, F. Desmond


The remarkable performance of the Irish economy in recent years has attracted much attention. Within a 10-year period the economy went from an 18 percent unemployment rate to nearly full employment, while the ratio of debt to GDP fell from 120 percent to less than 50 percent. Inevitably, this success was also accompanied by problems, as infrastructure came under increasing stress, environmental difficulties became more evident, and a changing social structure resulted in some groups becoming increasingly marginalized. What worked and what did not? In particular, are there lessons that may be relevant for other countries facing similar difficulties, especially in Asia and Latin America? McCarthy focuses on three features of Ireland's economic achievements. Two of these features are external: the opening to Europe and the role of foreign direct investment. The third and perhaps most"exportable"feature is domestic: the role of a social pact. This pact was initially between employers, trade unions, and the government. Subsequent pacts were extended to include a variety of other groups. McCarthy discusses the far-reaching impact of this series of pacts on health, poverty, employment, education, and social welfare. Ireland now faces a number of challenges, including the slowdown in the global economy, a fall in resource transfers from the European Union, and the potential effects of the entry into the EU of Hungary and Poland.

Suggested Citation

  • McCarthy, F. Desmond, 2001. "Social policy and macroeconomics : the Irish experience," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2736, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2736

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. International Monetary Fund, 1999. "The Netherlands; Transforming a Market Economy," IMF Occasional Papers 181, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Barry, Frank & Devereux, Michael B, 1995. "The 'Expansionary Fiscal Contraction' Hypothesis: A Neo-Keynesian Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 249-264, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2004. "The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15014, June.
    2. Roper, Stephen & Hewitt-Dundas, Nola, 2015. "Knowledge stocks, knowledge flows and innovation: Evidence from matched patents and innovation panel data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1327-1340.
    3. Ivan Angelov, 2004. "Accelerated Economic Development – Theory and Practice," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 3-33.
    4. World Bank, 2009. "Macedonia - Moving to Faster and More Inclusive Growth A Country Economic Memorandum : Main Report and Annex," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3067, The World Bank.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2736. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.