Ireland’s National Wage Agreements & macroeconomic performance: 1988 - 2008

Anthony Leddin, Paul G. Egan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper is a historical analysis of the role played by National Wage Agreements (NWAs) in the evolution of the Irish macroeconomy over the period 1988 to 2008. NWAs are agreements between the social partners: government, trade unions and employer representatives. They were re-introduced in Ireland in January 1988 and ended in September 2008 with the onset of the economic crash. In all, there were seven successive agreements spanning a twenty-one year period. A new wage agreement Public Sector Stability Agreement 2018–2020 was introduced in January 2018. While this agreement applies only to the Public Sector, the format has not changed in any meaningful way from the earlier agreements. This paper suggests how future wage agreements could be made more effective by introducing incentives to improve Public Sector labour productivity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-101
    JournalJournal of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020


    • National Wage Agreements
    • Central Statistics Office earnings data
    • Nominal and real earnings
    • Unanticipated inflation
    • Public sector productivity
    • Macroeconomic stabilization


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