New all-island project to fill significant gaps in economic data in Northern Ireland

The new project will for the first time, produce a data-based, statistical macroeconomic model for Northern Ireland.

A NEW three-year all-island research project will seek to fill significant gaps in data that could become crucial in shaping future economic policy in Northern Ireland.

The work, which is being undertaken by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Dublin; the London-based National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR); and Irish business group Ibec, will for the first time, produce a data-based, statistical macroeconomic model for Northern Ireland, similar to what is presently available for the Republic and Britain.

The groups said the gaps in data hinder the capacity to produce forecasts for the Northern Ireland economy.

A number of smaller studies will also be undertaken, including one which will examine the impact of Brexit on cross-border trade on the island of Ireland.

Ultimately, the project will aid the understanding of how the all-island economy functions and produce economic forecasts on an all-island basis.

ESRI chief executive Alan Barrett said the think tank has been developing similar models in the Republic for decades.

“Over this time, we have seen the value of having these analytical tools to assess the impacts of economic policies and events.

“But we have also learned much about the functioning of the economy through assembling and analysing the data which underpin models.

“Through this programme, we hope to expand our knowledge on the economy of Northern Ireland and the linkages with Ireland and the rest of the UK.”

Ibec boss Danny McCoy said the programme will play an important role in the future development of the all-island economy.

“This research can contribute constructively to ensuring evidence-based policies are at the heart of the shared island partnership approach to connectivity, sustainability, and prosperity.”

NIESR director Jagjit Chadha said: “It is critical that following Brexit and Covid that we try to understand economic developments at the level of the regions and across each of the devolved nations.

“We have worked for some time on the Scottish economy and are now developing our work on Wales.

“The particular circumstances that face Northern Ireland with its links to Ireland will present our modellers with some significant challenges but with the support of our friends at ESRI and Ibec, our London-based team will relish this new project.”

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