Ibec and ESRI to collaborate on all-island research project

Groups plan to develop macroeconomic model for all-island economy

Brexit has fuelled a major pick-up in North-South trade but also a downturn in imports from Britain. Photograph: iStock

Brexit has fuelled a major pick-up in North-South trade but also a downturn in imports from Britain. Photograph: iStock

 

Employers’ group Ibec and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) are to collaborate on a new all-island economy research project.

The aim is to develop a data-based macroeconomic model for the all-island economy akin to those available for the Republic and for the UK.

The three-year research programme will engage with the UK National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) to produce economic forecasts and a framework to analyse the impact of a range of public policies of relevance to business.

Specifically, it will examine the impact of Brexit on cross-Border trade on the island.

Brexit has fuelled a major pick-up in North-South trade but also a downturn in imports from Britain.

“At present, significant data gaps are hindering the capacity for both forecasting exercises for the Northern Ireland economy and in assessing the impact of key events and policy measures on an all-island economy where the population is set to grow to at least eight million by 2048,” Ibec said.

“Enacting evidence-based policies that protect the competitiveness of the all-island economy will be crucial to weathering an exceptionally volatile external environment and securing its long-term prosperity,” it said.

ESRI chief executive Alan Barrett said: “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 chief executive Danny McCoy said the 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 was 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”.