Europe

Ireland's 'Leprechaun' tag prompts new economy gauge

There was widespread mockery when official figures showed Ireland's GDP grew by 26% in 2015 Image copyright eyegelb
Image caption There was widespread mockery when official figures showed Ireland's GDP grew by 26% in 2015

The Republic of Ireland's statistical agency is to produce a new measurement of the country's economic performance, which removes the distorting effects of multinational companies.

There was widespread mockery when official figures showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 26% in 2015.

The distorted figure was the result of multinationals using Dublin as a centre for financing and taxation operations.

'Leprechaun economics'

Their operations involve flows of billions of dollars, which are captured by GDP measurement, but have little impact on the real economy.

When the figure was published last year, economist Paul Krugman described it as "leprechaun economics".

The Financial Times said it was on a par with the works of James Joyce and Flann O'Brien.

Now the Central Statistics Office (CSO) says that GDP and GNP "no longer provide a sufficient understanding of the domestic economy".

It said it will now produce a measurement known as adjusted gross national income (GNI), which will subtract the retained earnings of global firms that have their headquarters in Dublin.

It will also adjust for the depreciation of categories of foreign-owned domestic capital asset, such as intellectual property rights.

The changes were recommended in a report by an expert group chaired by the Governor of Ireland's Central Bank.

It made a total of 13 recommendations, including the need for better communications by the CSO.

The GNI measure will be phased in by the end of 2018.

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