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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Preferences for curtailable electricity contracts: Can they benefit consumers and the electricity system?

Growth in electricity demand together with the expansion of variable renewable energy will have significant implications for the future electricity system. One main concern is how the system can maintain balance between supply and demand to avoid blackouts from potential intermittent supply shortages. At present, this balance relies primarily upon traditional sources of flexibility on… | Read on »

Why older rural women in Ireland want to work: it’s not all about the money

Social gerontology extensively addresses financial reasons to work in later life, and pension inequalities. There is much less focus on the non-financial positive contributions that work provides for the older woman (Jahoda 1981), especially within a rural context. A qualitative study of twenty-five 45-65 year old women in Connemara, Ireland was undertaken from a lifecourse… | Read on »

Assessing the performance of EU Atlantic ports

EU Atlantic ports as multi-activity transport and logistic nodes can play a major role in the sustainable development of traditional and emerging maritime sectors and in the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. While the Atlantic Action Plan 2.0 envisions that the EU’s Atlantic port infrastructure and services can play a critical role in blue growth… | Read on »

Nature documentaries, environmental preferences and willingness to pay: the Blue Planet II effect

The relationship between media and the environment has been studied from a wide range of perspectives within the field of mass communication for many decades. Nature documentaries are also now an increasingly used modality to communicate environmental issues in order to create awareness, change behaviours or perhaps motivate increased viewers’ demand for environmental policy action. However,… | Read on »

Determinants of adherence to COVID-19 physical distancing measures in the Republic of Ireland

Physical distancing measures (e.g., keeping two metres apart from others outside of one’s household, limiting one’s number of close contacts, avoiding social gatherings) are among the most effective strategies to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the community and healthcare settings. Emerging evidence gathered at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic suggested physical… | Read on »

Mental Health Spillovers from Serious Family Illness

People are interconnected and ill-health is rarely experienced in isolation. For example, the physical and mental strain of ‘caring for’ an ill or disabled relative has been suggested to ‘spillover’, imposing a health- and quality of life-related burden on the caregiver. In addition, the illness experience of an individual is also thought to exert a… | Read on »

Aligning the Farming Habitus with Generational Renewal in Agriculture Policy

Limited uptake of financial incentives, designed to confront global trends of an ageing farming population and low levels of land mobility (i.e. transfer of land from one farmer to another, or from one generation to the next), reveal resistance or at best ambivalence, amongst farmers towards altering existing farm management and ownership structures in later… | Read on »