There is much debate about the need for a real devaluation of the Irish economy, in order to stimulate employment and economic output. Many of the authors on the Irish Economy blog believe that Ireland is classic case of a small open economy that has overshot on its price level. Others, such as Michael Taft, believe this is a cure worse than the disease.
How this real devaluation would come about is of course an entirely different matter, particular as devaluation within a currency union is no mean feat and requires nominal wage falls. Aedin Doris asks, in this context, where the wage cuts are. There was much talk of the private sector being hit by wage cuts, particularly SMEs, throughout the first half of the year. However, CSO data on manufacturing and finance show wages on an hourly basis still rising, at least by some metrics.
The graph below shows hourly wages in industry and in finance in the first quarter of 2008 and again a year later. While finance wages are down over 10% in year-on-year terms, industrial wages are up over 5%.
There are of course some issues that arise from the CSO data. The principal concern is that manufacturing and finance only account for about 300,000 employees, or one in six workers. There are another five sixths that also count. And then of course there is the seventh sixth, so to speak, the almost 300,000 who had been employed in 2006 and who are signing on, and so who are at least underemployed if not fully unemployed. Also, hourly wages are not always appropriate, particularly jobs are paid salaries as opposed to hourly rates.
Given this, and given the success of my income tax quiz (over 400 responses and counting), I decided it might be time to let the people have their say, one worker at a time. Below are a dozen questions. I’d be very grateful if you could take the time to fill them all out and indeed send it on to your friends. The aim is to find out from a representative sample of Ireland’s online population what they see happening to their income this year compared to last year.
Some people may be sceptical about the quality of results from a survey posted on a private website, others about confidentiality. On the first, the level and variety of response to the income tax quiz gives me hope that if done well, it could act as an intermediate contribution to what we know about income in Ireland in 2009. On confidentiality, all clustering of responses will be done anonymously and all answers will be treated in confidentiality.
Lastly, one or two comments. Some of the choice of answers may seem a bit funny – that’s just to make sure they fit with the standard economic literature. Click on the word here if you are unsure what sector, occupation or education level you are. Also, if you start the poll, I’d be grateful if you take the time to complete it, as half-answered returns will probably end up having to be thrown out. (One extra question has been added about three hours in, so you may find when you see the responses they don’t all add up – apologies.)
And thanks for your time! As soon as I have the responses, I’ll post some initial results.
Thanks again for taking the time fill this out. The more answers there are, the more interesting the findings, I’m sure, and everything will be posted up here.