ESRI research on taxation, welfare and pensions examines policy in these areas as well as examining longer run income distribution topics and income inequality. As part of the program SWITCH, the ESRI tax-benefit microsimulation model (Simulating Welfare and Income Tax Changes), is developed. The model uses detailed data on the incomes and other tax and welfare relevant characteristics of the CSO’s Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC). SWITCH simulates how households are affected by the rules of the current system, and by proposed reforms. The aim is to inform policy debate and policy choices using nationally representative data. The model is used both within the ESRI and by the funding Departments.
Recently, research has focused on establishing a practical method to carry out gender budgeting, examined how the move towards tax individualisation impacted upon married women’s labour supply and looked at financial incentives to work. In addition, SWITCH, was expanded to analyse issues relating to income-related entitlements to health services, such as medical and GP visit cards and the Affordable Childcare Scheme subsidies. The research programme is supported by prioritised funding from the grant in aid, and funding from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Finance