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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Modelling real-time changes to income distribution during the Covid-19 emergency

The Covid-19 emergency has provided a shock to societies unlike anything in recent memory. Often lacking good information, governments have had to formulate policy responses in a fog of uncertainty. The policy-imposed shutdown has had significant implications for the income of households, with differing effects across the income distribution. Governments have responded with temporary income… | Read on »

Valuation of marine ecosystem restoration activity could lead to more efficient marine planning

Ecosystem restoration implies policies that focus on remediating environmental degradation. In this research, the welfare impacts of restoring Norwegian kelp forests to areas where they once were dominant but which now lie barren are estimated using the discrete choice modelling approach. The research also examined if direct contact with the marine environment through recreation influences… | Read on »

Estimating the benefit value to society from the restoration of deep-sea ecosystems

Globally, direct and indirect human impacts have led to the widespread degradation of marine ecosystems. The resulting loss of habitat and marine biodiversity has led to increased impetus for marine ecosystem restoration at a policy level. Restoration success is judged on ecological outcomes but with limited resources, the magnitude of the societal benefits achieved is… | Read on »

Systemic Stakeholder Analysis for Policy Making

The ‘new normal’ for policy making, in the face of Covid-19, climate change and the UN SDGs, is to broaden its focus beyond ad hoc, short term sectoral issues to address the systemic, non-linear feedbacks and dynamics that form, grow and evolve in local to global provisioning systems. Policymaking is increasingly an iterative process of complex,… | Read on »

Investigating public demand for blue-green infrastructure

Flood reduction infrastructure is a vital aspect of many urban and peri-urban areas.  To date, the majority of flood reduction projects use traditional “grey” materials and techniques. However, the use of blue-green infrastructure (BGI) such as, restoration of floodplains or wetlands and bioswales are becoming more popular. The move towards BGI is, in part, due… | Read on »

Fiscal Equalisation in the Irish Local Government System

Fiscal equalisation is a key element of a country’s intergovernmental fiscal arrangements where functions and funding are decentralised to subnational government. Equalisation transfers are used to reduce horizontal fiscal imbalances between local authorities, so that fiscal equity can be achieved whereby citizens are not disadvantaged in their access to public services by their place or… | Read on »

Pensions in Ireland: The Perspectives of Irish Citizens

Against the backdrop of population ageing, which has been identified as a major societal challenge for all Western nations, successive Irish Government reports have reflected on the difficulty of sustaining the costs of the public State pension. The need for pension reform in Ireland continues to give rise to much public debate. Recasting pensions however… | Read on »

Linking Economic Theory with Sustainable Development and Well-Being Indicators

For sustainable development to be meaningful, it must be achievable and measurable by some reasonably clear metric or metrics. Economists have long recognised that the System of National Accounting aggregates fail to properly measure human well-being. Complements and perhaps alternatives to indicators such as Gross National Income are required. However, the development of sustainability indicators… | Read on »

Advancing Scientific Knowledge: The Strategic Role of Scientists in the Principal Investigator Role

Principal investigators (PIs) are ‘scientists who orchestrate new research projects, combine resources and competencies, deepen existing scientific trajectories or shape new ones that are transformative in intent, nature, and outcome that can be exploited for commercial ends and or for societal common good.’  Taking on the PI role is a significant career milestone for scientists…. | Read on »