Evidence on some economic effects of local infrastructure in Ireland

ESRI researchers and guest speakers discussed both ongoing and published research examining the economic effects of local infrastructure. The seminar included three presentations:

  1. The impact of broadband and other infrastructure on the location of new business establishments
  2. Effects of broadband on productivity in service sectors and employment growth in Irish firms
  3. Internal migration and the housing cycle


Venue: ESRI, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2.

Presentation 1: The impact of broadband and other infrastructure on the location of new business establishments

The slides from this presentation are now available to download HERE.


Research analyses the impact of broadband infrastructure, along with a range of other local characteristics such as motorways, availability of human capital and access to third-level educational facilities on the location of new business establishments. The sample period spans the introduction and recent history of broadband in Ireland. The results indicate that the availability of broadband infrastructure is a significant determinant, but its effects may be mediated by the presence of sufficiently high human capital in an area.




Daire McCoy,  Research Officer at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment 

Daire McCoy joined the Grantham Research Institute in November 2016. His research in mainly empirical in nature and involves the use of randomised-controlled trials and analysis of secondary data to examine a range of issues related to de-carbonisation and the reduction of energy consumption. This work involves collaboration with industry and government. Current topics include longer term impacts of energy efficiency upgrades; technology adoption amongst households; fuel poverty; and policy design and evaluation.


Leonie Allen, Commission for Communications Regulation

Leonie Allen is an economist with strong business acumen and 20 years’ experience driving policy formation in a diverse range of sectors including, electronic communications, posts, tourism and transport. She has specialist knowledge of competition policy, consumer protection and electronic communications regulation. Within the Commission for Communications (ComReg) she has gained valuable experience of the strategic, legal, accounting and economic aspects of Telecoms, Media and Internet. Leonie is the Economic Analysis Manager and provides quality economic advice on key projects across ComReg. Her contributions to regulatory and competition economics cover a variety of topics, including in particular regulation of mobile termination and fixed home telephony services, setting cost of capital, design of universal service policy in the context of the Government's National Broadband Plan, and the application of competition law. Leonie has also experience of the European decision-making environment and networking with European and national regulators, the ESRI and the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Previously she worked as an economist at the Competition Authority (CCPC) and was a Research Fellow at the University of Limerick, Department of Economics and National Centre for Tourism Policy Studies. Her current research interests include entrepreneurship and applications of behavioural science in regulatory policy and business decision making.


Presentation 2: Effects of broadband on productivity in service sectors and employment growth in Irish firms 


Does broadband availability increase the productivity of firms and encourage them to hire more staff?  There is mixed evidence on these questions in previous published research.  This presentation will summarise work in progress on whether some services sectors have increased productivity due to broadband availability and whether the initial rollout of broadband led firms to increase employment.


Speaker: Seán Lyons, Associate Research Professor, ESRI


Seán Lyons specialises in applied microeconomics, and he manages ESRI research programmes on the telecommunications sector and on the environment. He has published research in a diverse set of areas including energy economics and policy; effects of policies on broadband and mobile telephony; how regulation affects competition; determinants of environmental emissions and effects of climate policy; and the economics of disability. Two themes running through Seán’s work are an interest in the distributional effects of public policy and in the behaviour of individuals as consumers of regulated goods and services.


Presentation 3: Internal migration and the housing cycle


Research by Edgar Morgenroth and Abian Garcia Rodriguez investigates the impact of housing cycles on internal migration in Ireland. In the wake of the so called ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom, Ireland experienced a significant housing bubble which ended in a dramatic collapse. Over this period net internal migration patterns across Irish counties, which had been quite stable changed significantly, so much so that the correlation between the patterns observed in 1996 and 2002 is -0.57. In the wake of the bursting of the housing bubble internal migration patterns have changed again with the correlation of county internal net-migration between 2006 and 2011 of -0.09. The analysis in this paper is conducted at the county level over the period 1996 to 2016, which encompasses the pre boom, boom, crash and recovery period.


Speaker: Edgar Morgenroth, Dublin City University


Professor Edgar Morgenroth is full Professor of Economics in DCU Business School, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. He is also an independent member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association having served as its vice chairman and treasurer. He has held positions at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) for almost twenty years, and has worked at Keele University and the Strategic Investment Board (SIB).


About the ESRI Seminar Series

The ESRI organises a public seminar series, inviting researchers from both the ESRI and other institutions to present new research on a variety of public policy issues. The seminar series provides access to specialised knowledge and new research methodologies, with the objective of promoting research excellence and facilitating productive dialogue across the policy and research fields.