Public Sector Shock

Public Sector Shock

The Impact of Policy Retrenchment in Europe

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

The goal of this volume is to study this ‘public sector shock’. While budgetary reforms seek to ensure a more balanced and sound economic policy, they may generate new work inequalities among public sector employees, most particularly among women, who account for a considerable proportion of public sector employment. Cuts in education and training may also have an impact on the quality of human capital in both the public and private sectors, despite the fact that the recent crisis has shown the value of education as employees with better skills and training are more likely to maintain their jobs and incomes.

Chapter 9: Cautious adjustment in a context of economic collapse: The public sector in the Irish crises

Philip O’Connell

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, public sector economics, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy, labour policy


The Irish economy moved into a long and deep recession in the first half of 2008. This chapter examines the nature of that crisis, outlines the austerity programme that was adopted in response to the crisis and traces the impact of austerity on the public sector in Ireland. It draws on two case studies – restructuring of services to the unemployed and cutbacks in the education system – to illustrate different aspects of the response to crisis.

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