TASC has just issued a new discussion paper by TASC economist (and PE blogger) Tom McDonnell examining two distinct but related claims. First that Ireland lost competitiveness within the European Union in the last decade and second that high labour costs in low-wage sectors are contributing to the employment crisis.
Based on a review of the literature together with Eurostat data, the paper concludes that Ireland did not suffer an overall loss of competitiveness prior to the economic crash. The paper also refutes arguments that labour costs in the low-paid services sectors – sometimes viewed as undermining Irish competitiveness – are high by international standards. Instead, an examination of Eurostat data projects that 2010 labour costs were 9.3 per cent below the EU-15 average in the hospitality sector, and 8.8 per cent below the EU-15 average in the wholesale/retail sector. You can download Myths of the Irish Crisis: Wages and Competitiveness here.