Policy Briefs

The Whitaker Policy Briefs are short and informative analyses on some of Ireland’s current public policy issues that bring background and recommendations to policy-makers, journalists and the general public. The policy briefs cover a wide range of topics with emphasis on the following three research themes:

  • Business, Innovation & Economic Development
  • Public-Sector Innovation and Reform
  • Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

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What are the perspectives on ageing of mid-life women in rural Ireland?

Relatively little is known about how mid-life rural women perceive their own ageing. A recent Irish study (Herbert, 2017) shows this cohort to be highly diverse in attitude and behaviour, challenging some stereotypical gendered assumptions about mid-life women. Qualitative data were gathered by interviewing 25 women aged 45-65 years of age from diverse socio-economic, demographic,… | Read on »

Fishing for salmon farming consensus in Ireland

Wild capture fisheries landed 93.4m tonnes globally in 2014, a figure that has remained stable over 25 years. Over the same time, global per capita demand for seafood has risen from 14 to 20 kg per person. To meet demand, aquaculture – which now provides more than half of all seafood destined for human consumption… | Read on »

Spatial Impact of Commuting on Income: A Spatial Microsimulation Approach

Dr Amaya Vega

During the Irish economic boom years or the so-called Celtic Tiger period, Ireland experienced an unprecedented rise in commuting distances within extended local labour market areas. These new commuting patterns, driven by a dispersed settlement structure and an uncontrolled property bubble that had developed over the previous five years, resulted in an increasingly uneven spatial… | Read on »

Public acceptance of large scale wind energy generation for export from Ireland to the UK: Evidence from Ireland

Noreen Brennan

Due to its location, the Republic of Ireland experiences comparatively high wind regimes. Energy policies in the EU have encouraged the statistical trading of energy; specifically Directive 2009/28/EC, which allows for the importation of renewable energy to count towards renewable energy targets. In January 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the UK… | Read on »

Entrepreneurial Universities and Economic Impact

Universities’ missions and scope have evolved from teaching and research to engaging what is described as third mission, or entrepreneurship activities. These entrepreneurship activities can range from incubation facilities to accelerator programmes designed to support nascent entrepreneurs. Through their multiple missions, entrepreneurial university contribute to economic and societal developments. Universities are now being seen as… | Read on »

Accommodating all applicants? School choice and the regulation of enrolment

Dr Valerie Ledwith

It is clear from research on school choice that the decision about where a student attends school is far from straightforward. Indeed, the body of work suggests that school choice is a double-edged sword, simultaneously improving educational access and outcomes for some, while undermining the quality of the educational experience for others. Much of the… | Read on »

Information and Communication Overload in the Workplace

Due to the novelty of social media technologies, and our experiences using them, research is only beginning to unveil how the hours dedicated to online interactions are impacting human behaviour. Enterprise social media (ESM) platforms such as Jive, Chatter, and Yammer are akin to the public Facebook but are employed for internal communication and social… | Read on »

Segmenting for Sustainability on the Island of Ireland

This research argues for a disaggregation of pro-environmental behaviour into habitual and occasional behaviour. The former captures routine everyday activities such as regularly buying organic food or habitually conserving water. The latter describes occasional activities such as installing insulation and purchasing energy-efficient household appliances. Drawing on a survey of 1,500 households in the Republic of… | Read on »

Two tiers emerging? Achievement disparities among migrants and non-migrants

Dr Valerie Ledwith

Despite the reversal of net inward migration to Ireland after the international economic recession beginning in 2008, a sizeable number of migrant families have settled in communities throughout Ireland and have children who are currently moving through various stages of the education sector. Research in countries with a longer history of in-migration highlights an achievement… | Read on »

Transferring the Family Farm: The Human Element

Intergenerational family farm transfer is a complex and highly topical issue that is increasingly seen as crucial to the survival, continuity and future prosperity of the agricultural sector, traditional family farm and broader sustainability of rural communities. While financial incentives to stimulate and entice the process are important, there are many more facets to the… | Read on »