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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Economists (Megan Greene)

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Megan Greene

Economists

Ireland was truly unique in the Eurozone for the level of sophistication of understanding the population had for political and economic analysis during the economic crisis. From passport control agents to makeup specialists to taxi drivers, seemingly everyone could deliver a cogent rant about Irish government bond yields in 2010–11. There is even an economics comedy festival, Kilkenomics, held in Kilkenny every autumn where mainly Irish laymen travel to attend panels of economists (moderated by comedians to ensure that minimal jargon is used).

This cultural underpinning allowed a group of ‘celebrity economists’ (a term coined by Garret FitzGerald in 2011) to emerge in Ireland leading up to and during the financial crisis. One definition identifies celebrity economists as economists more often cited in the media and social media, than by fellow economists in academic papers.

Celebrity economists during the global financial crisis were certainly not unique to Ireland – the United States, for example, had the likes of Nouriel Roubini, Paul Krugman and Jaimie Galbraith. However, Ireland racked up a list of celebrity economists longer than that of any other country. At the top of virtually every list in Ireland was David McWilliams, who at the height of the crisis was not only providing policy advice to the government, but also appeared on bus stop ads for cider clad in a leather jacket.

The main criticism of celebrity economists in Ireland was that they were not well...

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