In previous posts I showed that Irish public services were already grossly underfunded by EU norms and that, using ESRI data, cutting public sector employment will have only a trivial impact on the fiscal deficit. In this last of three posts on public services I will sketch out an alternative fiscal approach to public services.
It should be borne in mind that past surveys have found Irish public services relatively efficient compared to EU norms. While measuring public sector productivity is exercise and the methodology is still being developed:
- The joint Netherlands-OECD Study into Public Sector Performance found Irish public sector performance to be above average, besting even the German and UK public sectors – measuring quality of administration, allocation of services, distribution of welfare and economic stabilisation.
- The European Central Bank study of public sector performance describes the Irish public sector as one of ‘the most efficient’ along with Australia, Japan, Switzerland, the US and Luxembourg.
While these studies date from the early 2000s, and are certainly not the last word, there is clear evidence that the Irish public sector has a credible track record. Of course, this goes against the manufactured consensus that our public sector is bloated and inefficient, but it wouldn’t be the first that unsubstantiated assertions meet empirical analysis.