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Keep asking the question until you get the answer you want… December 5, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…appears to be the SBP’s latest wheeze. In response to the polling data from the most recent SBP/RedC poll which, rather inconveniently offered the information that – actually, all things considered, the public was much much more relaxed about wage increases for the public sector, with fully 80% ‘support levels’ among the wider public, what is a paper to do?

Go back and ask others the same question. Those others being economists! Now I’m not one to dismiss their understanding or research expertise. But, it did seem to me that economics isn’t value free as a discipline. And the SBP seems to think so too for they make some play of the fact that left leaning economists saw ‘stronger support for pay restoration’. Whereas ‘a large number of academic economists employed by public-funded educational institutions chose not to respond to the survey’. This didn’t stop the SBP reporting this as ‘almost half of Irish economists’….etc, etc… i.e. that the sample is representative of all Irish economists. But in fact only 26 chose to participate. And of that 26 we see individuals drawn from IBEC, Merrion Capital and so on. Of course how comprehensive then the survey is, or whether one can place any faith in it at all is open to question.

And the results?

81% support against, 19% support for pay restoration if it means ‘lower spend on public services’ (by the by, can’t that line be used in relation to any public expenditure?).

62% support against, 38% support for pay restoration with lower cut to USC.

85% support against, 15% support for pay restoration with named lower expenditures on roads, housing, etc.

And check this out. In utopia…

46% support against, 54% support for pay restoration if this didn’t impact on public services or lower taxes.

I think we know where they’re coming from. The quotes from individuals who replied to the survey merely add to that. Alan McQuaid’s which rounds off the article (McQuaid is he who works for Merrion Capital) argues that ‘pay restoration would be a recipe for disaster and should be avoided at all costs’. All costs? Really?


1. ivorthorne - December 5, 2016

So 13 of the 26 are opposed to pay restoration under any circumstance?

Do those figures even make sense? What is 46 percent of 26? It’s going to involve decimals so were the economists using a rating scale? If so, the findings may be more nuanced than presented. There’s also the problem that the economists invited to participate may have engaged in agenda setting. Employer or Union employed economists may have responded based on the headline they wished to see rather than what they actually believed.

One suspects that many of the academic economists invited to participate chose to not complete the survey due to the limitations of the design and awareness of how unscientific the general approach is.


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