Blockchain is a 32-Year-Old Gimmick

Public support should end

Blockchain is old hat. In 1991 blockchain was first proposed by two scientists at Bell Labs, long enough for the technology to mature and stand on its own feet. However, €347 million of EU funding has been approved to promote blockchain…

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Why is Ireland such a high-cost country?

In Ireland, the price level of consumer goods and services are 40% above the EU average. Why is this the case?

Our high prices are almost entirely due to the high cost of services (which includes renting a home) rather than goods (figure below). The price of goods in Ireland is largely in line with other European countries, with the exception of alcohol and tobacco. Since 2003, goods prices have improved …

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Global inflation masks home-grown problems

Last week, a friend felt somewhat flushed and wondered if it was a fever due to COVID-19 or simply the unusually warm weather outside. Fortunately, a PCR test showed he was free of COVID-19. At the same time the Irish economy has been overheating with many pointing to outside causes. However, a closer examination shows the Irish economy is not as lucky…

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Time to raise taxes not cut them

Just as giving the wrong medicine can harm a patient, taking the wrong economic measures can worsen the effects of the current recession. Already a growing number of economists, such as Central Bank governor Gabriel Makhlouf, are showing scepticism at government plans to boost consumer spending through measures such as through VAT cuts…

Opinion piece I wrote for The Irish Times available here.

The Slovenian economy is bouncing back — OECD ECOSCOPE

by Rory O’Farrell, Slovenia Desk, OECD Economics Department Slovenia would do well if its economy performed as well as its ski-jumpers. In 2015, Slovenian Peter Prevc became the first ski-jumper in history to jump 250 metres. As impressive has been his ability to land successfully, being among the few jumpers to receive a perfect 20 […]

via The Slovenian economy is bouncing back — OECD ECOSCOPE

Retraining can enable ageing Slovenians to keep pace with new technologies


by Rory O’Farrell, Slovenia Desk, OECD Economics Department

While workers in many OECD countries are worried whether robots will take their jobs, the inhabitants of the Slovenian town of Kočevje are less concerned. In 2016 Japanese robotics firm, Yaskawa, announced plans to produce robots in Kočevje, which could create up to 200 jobs. This is a continuation of a pattern seen since independence whereby Slovenia has continued to shift from traditional manufacturing to business services and high-tech production. However, not all Slovenians have been included in this progress.

Modernisation has mainly been achieved by training young Slovenians to fill new occupations. In contrast, those with obsolete skills tend to retire or become unemployed rather than retrain, leaving Slovenia with persistent long-term unemployment, and amongst the lowest employment rates of older workers in the OECD. An ageing population means this is no longer sustainable, and labour shortages are already emerging. To…

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Ireland has a shortage of men aged 25-34

In many ways the recession hit young men hardest. Employment in the male dominated construction sector collapsed, while employment in the more female public sector was relatively stable. As a result young men were most likely to emigrate.


The result has been the  ratio of men to women (the sex-ratio) for those aged 25-34 fell to the lowest level since records began. If this age group were in a nightclub for every 100 women, there would be only 93 men.

sex rat

While this may not seem dramatic, the figure is even more depressing for single women hoping to be in a relationship with a man*. Though there are no good statistics for the fraction of people that are in a relationship, lets suppose 80% of women aged 25-34 are in a relationship, leaving 20 single women in our nightclub. However, that leaves only 13 single guys (a sex ratio of .65). Therefore Ireland’s plunge in the sex-ratio can have a far larger impact than may first appear.



*For the sake of simplicity I’m pretending all the gay people are in the George for the night.

The gig economy will not abolish working 9 to 5 — OECD ECOSCOPE

by Rory O’Farrell, Economics, OECD Economics Department Today’s post is also being published by the OECD Insights Blog There is little new about the ‘gig economy’. The word ‘gig’ originates from 1920s jazz musicians who played a small concert or ‘engagement’ at a venue. Dolly Parton may have sung about working 9 to 5, but […]

via The gig economy will not abolish working 9 to 5 — OECD ECOSCOPE