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Catríona Cahill

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Dr Dónal Palcic and Dr Eoin Reeves
Working Title of Thesis: 
Public Enterprise in Ireland: Objectives, Performance and Governance in a Changing Environment.

Given the vast resources spent on the provision of public services and the general requirement for control of public finances, a key policy objective for any government is that the delivery of these services is economically efficient. The search for improved public sector performance is a major concern for modern government and the pursuit of effectiveness and efficiency intensifies as the public sector is confronted with greater demands from citizens. Despite the importance of measuring efficiency for the purpose of informing decisions regarding resource allocation in the public sector, there are few examples of economic efficiency studies in the Irish context (an exception is Gannon 2005). Where academic studies with regard to public sector performance in Ireland have been published they tend to be non-technical and are not based on measures that are consistent with economic concepts of efficiency. In their most recent review of the Irish public service, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) highlights the need for a move towards a performance focus. They argue that rather than focusing on inputs and processes, there is a need for studies that focus on “outputs and outcomes and what has actually been achieved, so that this can better feed back into measuring how the Public Service is meeting overarching targets and objectives” (2008, 163). This research complements the OECD report by focusing specifically on the economic performance of the public sector. This research is also extremely relevant given the current fiscal difficulties facing Ireland. At no other point in time has it been so acutely important that public finances are spent in an efficient manner and, as such, it is essential that government officials be fully informed when making public policy decisions. Ultimately, it is intended that the findings from this study will address the gap in literature concerning productivity measurement in the Irish public sector, while also offering a new and vastly more precise insight into the question of whether or not public expenditure is achieving the desired results.

Publications/presentations to date: 

IAFA Doctoral Colloquium, UCD, Ireland, 18 December 2012 •
XII Milan European Economy Workshop, Italy, 13 June 2013

Cahill, C., Palcic, D. and Reeves, E. (forthcoming) ‘Balancing Commercial and Wider Economic Objectives - The Case of the Dublin Airport Authority’, in Bernier, L., ed., Public Enterprises Today: Missions, Performance and Governance - Learning from Fifteen Case: Peter Lang Publishers

Details of any scholarships/funding received (NOT USED): 
Advanced Scholar Award 2010
Public Sector; Productivity; Regulation; Governance; Commercialisation.
Details of any scholarships/funding received: 
Advanced Scholar Award 2010
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