Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Irish Debate Session on Unemployment

I will do another session on the Irish Debate website on October 28th at 12pm. A preliminary version of the outline is below. Suggestions welcome. I will post about how to login closer to the time.

Irish Unemployment Policy: An Urgent Debate

The dramatic rise in unemployment in recent years is the most urgent policy problem facing the Irish state. Unemployment durations greater than one-year, in particular, are associated with a range of negative long-run social, economic and psychological consequences. While rebalancing the economy in terms of debt, price and fiscal policy following a protracted bubble and collapse is clearly the most direct route to solving this problem, it is also absolutely clear that such a process is a medium-to-long term one and the question of short-run active employment policy must be given greater focus. This debate discusses the current policy environment in Ireland. It will begin with some overviews of the extent of unemployment in different regions and among different demographic groups. It will talk about some likely consequences of the high-level of unemployment in these groups. It will then examine government policy in the area of unemployment during the course of the last three years. The bulk of the discussion will be devoted to discussing current and potential government initiatives in the area of jobs stabilisation. The recent jobbridge initiative has created much debate online and we will discuss the potential for internship and placement programmes. The bringing together of the benefit payment and job placement aspects of the welfare system is another potential opportunity for improvement. Furthermore the extent to which the cash and non-cash benefit systems creates distorted incentives at the margins of the labour market and how this might be changed will be discussed.

Selected Readings:

1. The papers of Bell and Blanchflower on this topic are very useful - a collection of these are available below

2. The Krueger/Mueller paper "Job Search in a period of Mass Unemployment" is very useful

3. Geary Working paper by me and co-authors on the experience of unemployment in Ireland is useful for getting a sense of the views of people who are unemployment

4. Card et al is one of the most useful papers on the success or otherwise of job activation programmes

Card, D., Kluve, J.& Weber, A. (2010) Active labour Market Policy Evaliations: A Meta Analysis. NBER Working Paper No. 16173.

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