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December 06, 2017


Fact Checker

Hi Michael

I don't think that this is the best way to measure the relative bargaining power of Irish high-paid workers.

It is better to reference earnings rather than income. The latter of course comprises of course a lot more than just labour income.

The OECD data (see this excel sheet ( shows that the ratio of 9th decile workers in Ireland to 1st decile is about 4, compared to an OECD average of about 3.4.

Likewise, full-time workers in Ireland with post-secondary education seem to earn about 50% more than those with only secondary education. This is again more than is usual in the OECD.

The (casual) explanation I've heard for this in the past is that Ireland has an unusually high prevalence of MNCs who tend to reward high skills.

Of course all of this data refers to gross earnings. The progressive tax-and-transfer system does a bit to smoothen out the net comparison.

Michael Taft

Fact Checker - thanks for that. The link to the OECD seems to be broken. Can you send me the link to the database you used? Thanks.

Fact Checker

Hi Michael

If you go here ( and select "Distribution of gross earnings of full-time employees (annual)" you should get to the database.

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