A conversation with Kevin O’Rourke

Trinity Economist Kevin O’Rourke received a lot of attention recently which centred around a paper he wrote with Agustin Benetrix and Barry Eichengreen that featured on VOX.

The Sunday Tribune picked up on it with the headline ‘House price fall could be worst in history‘. Fairly powerful statement that! Kevin O’Rourke is a man who I personally have a lot of respect for (an example of his work is in a talk he gave to the CFA last year here) so we were delighted when he kindly took a call today while on a working holiday in France.

My questions are in bold, the main thrust of his answers follow them.

You say a rapid adjustment would be best, what can be done to facilitate that? “You have to start by wondering ‘do we think the Irish adjustment is …

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A developers side of the story.

I had an interesting conversation with a developer yesterday who’s company is closing, they would have been a mid-range development company, they built many buildings that we all recognise around Dublin but they are not in the ‘Big 10’.

We got to talking about banks, the public sector, developers and in doing so I asked how he felt about the way developers are portrayed of late, as being at the very root of the crisis and at fault for the course the country is on.

He said that his family had been in the development industry for three generations, they had built it up from the 70’s and put everything on the line in the 80’s to keep going, they took calculated risks but it was their neck they were risking, not the necks of others, and now that things have fallen apart they have lost everything and somehow most of the bankers have kept their jobs.

That is a fair point in many respects, the banks have yet to face up …

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