What Explains Ireland's Fragile Recovery From the Crisis? The Politics of Comparative Advantage

Low corporate taxes and liberal market economies

The conventional wisdom among policymakers in Europe is that Ireland is recovering from the Eurozone crisis because it successfully implemented the EMU adjustment program (or the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU). This is broadly true, if one accepts the performance indicators used by the Troika (the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Directorate General (DG) for Finance in the European Commission). According to these actors, the fact that Ireland has re-gained access to international finance markets, in-itself, illustrates that their fiscal and structural adjustment strategy has worked. The Irish government, they argue, have reduced their budget deficit, recapitalized failed banks and improved labor cost competitiveness. This has led to an improvement in the external current account imbalance, with the implication that the Irish are now in a position to pay-off their long-term debt. The seeds of export-led growth recovery have been sown. Other counties should now follow the Euro-Irish strategy and impose similar austerity measures.                 This article challenges the conventional wisdom by arguing that ireland's fragile economic recovery can be traced to the path dependent insitutional effect of it's liberal market economy, built around low corporate taxes. 

» Ireland - LME.pdf (PDF, 2.9 Mb)

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