Understanding Ireland’s Economic Growth by Frank Barry (eds.)

By Frank Barry (eds.)

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Eur. 64 Note: The rows in the table differ because of differences in population growth rates. Source: O Grada and O’Rourke (1996). 34 A Historical and Theoretical Perspective (1996) ‘painted a bleak picture of an industrial sector beset by shoddy design, poor marketing and short production runs’.  OUTWARD ORIENTATION With the very visible failure of the protectionist strategy in the 1950s, Ireland moved towards outward-orientation at the end of the decade; tariffs were progressively reduced, the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1966, and the country in 1973 acceded to what would become the European Union.

This assertion Frank Barry 37 requires us to verify that productivity in the foreign sector, corrected for transfer pricing, is indeed higher than in indigenous industry. According to our calculations above, value added in indigenous manufacturing remains equal to £3747 million (implying a productivity level per worker of £32100); value added in the foreign-owned sector, however, has been brought down from £12490 million to £8431; productivity per worker in this sector, even overaccounting for transfer pricing as we have done, comes out at £81171 (rather than the £120300 level implied by the official statistics).

The final part of our story then is to ask why this has been so. It is easiest to consider this sector by sector. We need not consider non-market services or agriculture in great detail; employment in agriculture is in irreversible decline, while employment in non-market services is essentially a derived demand; it cannot be an engine of growth, as the failed fiscal experiment of the late 1970s, discussed in Chapter 4, shows. Employment in non-tradeables, comprising most of services plus building and construction, is largely dependent on domestic demand, though as we will see it can also be influenced by competitiveness considerations.

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