Opinions That Matter – Dr Stephen Kinsella

Dr. Stephen Kinsella is a highly respected Lecturer in Economics at  Kemmy Business School, UL. He frequently appears in the national media commentating on a wide range of economic issues.

You can find out more about Stephen at his blog: http://www.stephenkinsella.net or follow him on twitter

1.You are Lecturer in Economics at the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick.  You are also a regular media commentator and speaker.  So what does your average working week involve?

I basically do three things. First, research. A lot of what I do revolves around building very large models of the Irish Economy with post doctoral fellows and PhD students, and writing papers about our results. Then I teach modules on economics for business, macroeconomic theory, financial economics, the European economy, and health economics. Then comes the more visible media stuff, the articles for the Irish Independent, Foreign Affairs, the Harvard Business Review, and others, as well as radio and tv work. I’ve 3 kids under 6 so the media work tends to get the shove if things need to be done at home. Overall I’d conservatively say I put in about 60 hours a week. I don’t do 9-5 in any sense.
Before last summer I hadn’t taken a holiday in 5 years. I don’t have hobbies or any of that stuff. I’m very lucky to have a job I love that I think is important, and the rest of my time I spend being a dad.

2.The China Post reported last week “Ireland imposes 6th straight austerity budget.”  What in your opinion, will be the impact of this Budget on the economy, jobs, consumer confidence but also our international standing and reputation?

The economy will deflate, meaning we won’t produce as much stuff as we did last year, reducing demand for goods and services, and that means unemployment won’t come down unless we see large-scale emigration. It is not a pretty picture.

3.What are your preferred media sources for news, research, industry commentary?

I have about 1000 RSS feeds in my google reader account, these link automatically to offical data sources like the OECD/IMF/CSO/Eurostat, and many other official sources, as well as economics journals, blogs and news papers. Twitter is a great way to stay current if you follow the right people. I tend to start every day with these sources and the FT. It takes about 30 minutes a day on average to stay current.

4.What positives do you see arising from Ireland’s recession?

I think we have much greater price sensitivity these days, which makes us better consumers. I can see hunger in the students I teach in UL, in terms of how they work and their attitude to the labour market, even in second year. That is very important because the will to succeed, in a sense, defines the future path of the economy.

5.You are located in the mid-west, a region synonymous with industry but most recently one that is striving to become a ‘sustainable energy region’. What do you believe are the unique characteristics of the mid-west that differentiate it from other parts of Ireland?

We have the potential to become a trade hub—it is what has defined the region for hundreds of years actually—if we invest in the infrastructure and services that draw manufacturers and service industries to the region. I’ve written on this at some length in a series of magazine articles. The key is to revitalise the city as a place to live while leveraging the fact that we have a potentially world class university at its doorstep. The place is stuffed with people dying to get started, but in appropriate and outdated systems hold them back.

6.What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Becoming an INET grantee. The Institute for New Economic Thinking is a global organisation, they sponsor about 20 grants per year, and I won one of them. INET has granted me access to Nobel laureates and world class researchers, and because my research is very much on the fringes of macroeconomics, it gave me confirmation that what I was doing had some merit.

7.Which social networking sites do you use (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo) and for what purpose?
Facebook (for family only), twitter (for research), youtube (for my lectures) Vimeo (for longer talks) Slideshare (for slides) and my own blog for everything else.

 

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