A blue pencil lies across a payslip displaying various figures

Taxation, Welfare and Pensions

Research examines the design of the tax, welfare and pensions system, with a focus on the effects it has on individuals, redistribution and incentives to work. Much of this work uses SWITCH – the ESRI tax and benefit model – to simulate the impact of actual or proposed reforms on households.

housing in ireland
Average private rents almost double their 2012 level, but income inequality at new record low

Average private rents rose from €589 to €1,084 per month between 2012 and 2021 in real terms, an increase of 84 per cent. These rising rents have led to a substantial decline in the affordability of housing for young and low-income private renters. 

Open purse with coins atop a wooden table
Budget 2023

Budget 2023 was focused on providing relief to households experiencing reduced purchasing power due to rapid inflation, which is predicted to persist into 2023. In this Special Article we analyse the distributional impact of these reforms. Budget 2023 was unusual as many reforms were one-off measures specifically addressed at combatting cost of living pressures. Compared to a price-indexed 2022 baseline, Budget 2023 left households across the income distribution better off, with the lowest 10 per cent of households experiencing the largest gain; an increase of 1.4 per cent of disposable income. 

Conference at the ESRI
Pre- and post-budget analysis

Papers from the annual Budget Perspectives conference provide analyses of policy issues relevant to the upcoming Budget. The annual post-Budget analysis assesses the effect of changes to the tax and welfare system, including their distributional impacts.

The word pensions is displayed on the screen beside a pen and a calculator

Research examines the adequacy of retirement income, the sustainability of the pension system and proposed reforms to pension contributions.

Skilled worker wearing a blue apron is operating a machine in a warehouse
Financial incentives to work

A number of publications examine if tax and benefit systems in Ireland strike a balance between providing an adequate safety net to those who need it and maintaining incentives to take up employment.