Economic Policy in Ireland

University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Economic Policy in Ireland

  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    Celtic Studies, Economics

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Pre-requisite for this course is Principles of Microeconomics

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    This course is designed to provide students with the analytical and historical foundation for studying contemporary public policy issues in Ireland. It begins with a brief overview of how the Irish economy has evolved in the past 25 years and identifies and outlines a series of key public policy issues in areas such as health, housing, the environment, and social protection. It proceeds to develop an economics framework for analysing these issues which covers the concepts of efficiency, equity, market failure, welfare state, and cost benefit analysis. This framework is then applied to the various public policy issues identified earlier in the course. The course will include a field trip to Dublin to meet key policymakers and analysts.


    On completion of the module the student should be able to:

    • Outline how the Irish economy has evolved over the past 25 years with particular attention to key public policy objectives.
    • Describe the main mechanisms of resource allocation in modern societies.
    • Define the main social objectives for the allocation of societal resources.
    • Apply the theoretical framework of market failure and cost-benefit analysis to examine the role of public policy in the Irish economy.
    • Apply the theoretical framework of government failure to appraise the role of public policy in the Irish economy.
    • Describe the role, objective and impact of the welfare state.
    • Present and apply a set of theories of society to explore the nature of welfare state systems in Ireland and comparable countries.
    • Present an economic analysis of public policy in a number of sectors including health, education, income redistribution, housing, road congestion and climate change.


    • O'Hagan/O’Toole/Whelan, editors. The Economy of Ireland: Policymaking in a Global Context, 14th Edition, Palgrave, 2021. (Students must ensure that they have access to this book.)
    • Other required readings will be placed on the Course Blackboard.


    Week 1:

    • Overview of Irish economy
    • Historical Background; Social Objectives for Resource Allocation
    • Market Failure and the Role of Government

    Week 2:

    • Theories of the Welfare State
    • Behavioural Economics and Public Policy

    Week 3:

    • Cost Benefit Analysis
    • Distribution and Poverty
    • Housing, Energy and the Environment, Health

    Week 4:

    • Education
    • Various

    Final Exam


    1. Attendance and participation in lectures (10%)
    2. Policy brief on a selected issue of interest and current debate in Ireland (40%)
    3. Final exam (50%)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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