Ireland is a small, open economy, heavily integrated with the British economy as well as an enthusiastic and fully active member of the European Union. How it is influenced by and responds to these circumstances is central to an understanding of its economy. This book provides an account of the main features, performance and associated policy issues of the economy of Ireland in the 1990s. The book opens with an extensive chapter outlining the historical development of the Irish economy from the seventeenth century to the present day. Part 1 then examines the issue of choosing, defining and measuring policy objectives for the economy. Part 2 explores the role and performance of the government in policy implementation, focusing in particular on public expenditure, social partnership arrangements, regulation, taxation, and fiscal and monetary policy. Part 3 looks at the overall performance of the economy, in terms of economic growth, employment and unemployment, trade and exchange rate policy, with special reference to the EU dimension.
Part 4 examines the Irish government's policy towards the different sectors of the economy (agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors) and its relation with EU policy. The central role of competitiveness and competition policy for all sectors of the economy is emphasised. The book includes numerous statistical tables and charts, as well as a comprehensive bibliography.