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

Sign-up to hear when the next Policy Brief is published.

Local Government Funding in Ireland

Traditionally, local governments fund recurring expenditures from three broad sources, namely user fees and charges, local taxes and grants or transfers.  Although reform of local government funding is a never-ending process, since the 2008 financial crisis Ireland has witnessed an unusually large number of changes in the funding of Irish local councils. These are a… | Read on »

The Growth Effects of Foreign Direct Investment

The potential benefits from foreign direct investment (FDI) are viewed as important, as technology transfers resulting from FDI can lead to higher productivity of domestic firms, thereby boosting a host country’s growth rate. Economists and policymakers in many developing economies thus believe firmly that FDI plays a key role in the economic convergence process; they… | Read on »

Implementing Whistleblowing Systems: Is Your Organization Ready?

The incoming EU Whistleblowing Directive 2019 will require many organizations* to make significant changes to protect whistleblowers against retaliation, establish confidential whistleblower channels and clear reporting processes.  Organisations must implement arrangements now that enable employees to speak up about perceived wrongdoing. But how to go about this? This research examined key organizations in the finance,… | Read on »

Designing and implementing initiatives for sustainable transitions in residential energy use

Reducing domestic energy use and related carbon emissions is a priority for national and European policy. A transition toward sustainable household energy use will require radical shifts in patterns of production and consumption that can only be brought about through systemic change involving multiple actors across all levels of society. Key considerations include the development,… | Read on »

Accounting for Ireland’s natural capital and measuring sustainable development

Environmental economists offer what is arguably the most internally consistent theory of sustainable development. A sustainable development path is one that maintains welfare opportunities for future generations. An economy’s “genuine savings” (GS) represent changes to the productive capacity of the economy and thus indicate the capacity for the generation of future well-being. GS goes “beyond… | Read on »

Intergenerational Considerations for Generational Renewal in Agriculture Policy Strategies

The senior generation’s resistance to alter the status quo of the existing management and ownership structure of their farm is undoubtedly strong within the farming community. This phenomenon has resulted in extraordinary socio-economic challenges for young people aspiring to embark on a career in farming. This study sets forth a series of recommendations aimed at allowing… | Read on »

Blue Care: A systematic review of blue space interventions for health and wellbeing.

Global evidence of disconnect from our natural surroundings is growing as the world’s ecosystems increasingly come under threat from human pressures, in partic-ular waterways, coasts and oceans. This in turn poses human health risks and results in the loss of potential health and wellbeing benefits associated with blue spaces i.e. outdoor water environments. Among policy,… | Read on »

Extended Working Life policies; gender and health implications in Ireland

In recent decades the European Union has promoted Active Ageing and the OECD has strongly encouraged governments to introduce policies designed to extend working life (EWL) as a means of addressing population ageing and anticipated increased pension costs. From 2012 onwards, Ireland has introduced several such pension reforms including raising state pension age, – now… | Read on »

Advisory Services and Dairy Expansion in Ireland

Since April 2015, EU dairy farmers can expand milk production without facing restrictive milk quota constraints. This opportunity has been well received in Ireland and milk output has increased by 30 percent since quota abolition, mainly achieved through expansion on existing farms. The Irish dairy sector’s remarkable growth rate began once milk quota abolition was… | Read on »

Exploring complex social drivers of (un)sustainable consumption

Rising consumption and the increasing resource intensity of daily living practices are key drivers of environmental change. As a result, individual consumption and the promotion of positive pro-environmental behaviour change have become a key area of attention in European and Irish sustainable development policy. In finding ways in which environmental transitions can be achieved through… | Read on »