ESRI Working Paper

The Great Recession, Austerity and Inequality: Evidence from Ireland

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April 23, 2015
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The advent of the Great Recession and the widespread adoption of fiscal austerity policies have heightened concern about inequality and its effects. We examine how the distribution of income in Ireland has evolved over the years 2008 to 2013, using data from the CSO?s Survey on Income and Living Conditions. Snapshots of the income distribution show that the greatest falls in income were for the bottom decile (poorest 10 per cent). Longitudinal analysis shows that these sharp falls were not due to decreasing income for those remaining in the bottom decile, but to falling income among those with somewhat higher incomes. Most of those falling into the bottom decile came from the bottom one third of the income distribution.