The Fall of the Celtic Tiger: Ireland and the Euro Debt Crisis

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9780199663958: The Fall of the Celtic Tiger: Ireland and the Euro Debt Crisis

By 2000, Ireland had achieved a remarkable macroeconomic performance producing 10% economic growth, a budget surplus, and a very low debt to GDP ratio. Emigration had disappeared and there was significant immigration from Eastern Europe. By November 2010, economic growth was significantly negative, the budget deficit was out of control and the debt to GDP ratio had risen to over 100%. In an unprecedented development, Ireland was forced to apply for an emergency bail-out package from the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund).

This book examines how the Celtic Tiger, a high growth performing economy, fell into a macroeconomic abyss. It is a story that shows how the Irish economy moved from a property market crisis to a banking crisis and fiscal crisis, and how these three crises produced a fourth crisis, the massive financial crisis of 2010. Against the backdrop of the newly created Eurozone, the book demonstrates the way in which a housing boom was transformed into a property market bubble through excessive credit creation. Accompanying the property market bubble buoyant property related taxes enabled a profligate government to over spend and under tax. Few, both in Ireland or Europe, recognised the danger signals because the prevailing economic ideology suggested that financial markets could self-regulate.

The book analyses the roles of banks, builders, developers, regulators (the EU, the ECB, the Central Bank of Ireland, and the Irish Financial Regulator), economists, the media, and a property driven populace during the various unfolding stages of the downfall of the Celtic Tiger. It pays particular attention to the decisions to provide a highly controversial comprehensive guarantee for the covered Irish banks and the events that left the government with no alternative but to request a bail out. It considers throughout two questions: who or what was responsible for what happened and in what sense? Could actions have been taken at various stages to prevent the final recourse to the bail out? Finally, the book addresses the future of the Celtic Tiger and discusses the impact of measures to help resolve the current Euro debt crisis as well as the underlying lessons to be learned from this traumatic period in Ireland's economic and financial history.

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About the Author:


Donal Donovan is a Member of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, Adjunct Professor at the University of Limerick, and Visiting Lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. He is a former deputy director at the International Monetary Fund with considerable experience in the area of financial crises. He has advised in the preparation of two major reports on the Irish financial crisis. He is a member of the newly appointed Fiscal Advisory Council of Ireland.

Antoin E. Murphy is Professor Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of three books published by Oxford University Press. He is an expert in the area of the history of economic thought and has a deep historical knowledge on asset market bubbles and financial crises.

Review:


"An excellent guide to the demise of the Celtic Tiger." --The Financial Times


"A fascinating book...an accessible, balanced and independent analysis." --Sunday Business Post


"Required reading." --Irish Independent


"Donovan and Murphy represent the strength and breadth of contemporary Irish economics. Donovan is an experienced technocrat, a veteran IMF staffer with scars from many financial crises to prove it. Murphy is a distinguished economic historian, as well as one of the world's leading authorities on the history of monetary thought. The great virtue of their book is that it does not flinch from asking the question that has been uppermost in the general public's mind from the start but that has proved mysteriously elusive inmost official discussion: who or what, at root, was responsible for the crisis? It is in addressing this crucial question that Donovan and Murphy make their most valuable contribution. The answer to what caused the Irish crisis, they argue, is to be found not at the level of vested interests but at the level of ideas." --The New Statesman


"...this book is the best so far on the Irish financial crisis of 2008." --Foreign Affairs


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