A multitude of economic and social metrics play a role in the budgetary deliberations in my Department and across Government.
Well-being is a complex, multi-dimensional concept and measuring it is no simple task. To address this, New Zealand has taken the approach of monitoring a broad range of economic, social and environmental metrics. This is also what my Department does.
It is clear that measuring GDP alone is no longer sufficient to assess the living standards of society. This is even more relevant in Ireland with the economic interpretation of a number of our economic indicators distorted by the high level of multinational activity in Ireland, GDP among them. This is why the Central Statistics Office has begun publishing various new 'underlying' indicators, for example modified gross national income, to better reflect what is happening in the domestic Irish economy, and my Department utilises these indicators.
Distributional, environmental and gender impacts are considered along with macroeconomic impacts when evaluating policy measures and the broader state of the economy.
An analysis of inequality and progressivity in the Irish tax system was also published as part of the Budget 2019. This included publishing metrics on inequality such as the Gini coefficient and comparing these to average inequality in the EU. Furthermore, my Department engages with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the Social Impact Assessment they conduct of the Budget each year, which examines the impact of budgetary measures on household incomes.
An equality budgeting pilot was introduced in the Revised Estimates Volume 2018 to examine the likely impact of budgetary measures on various dimensions of equality, with a focus on gender equality. Gender budgeting will be further developed in 2019, along with an expansion into other areas including poverty and disability.
As we continue to collect more and better data to measure domestic living standards, my Department will monitor and analyse these to ensure the well-being of all Irish citizens is furthered as best we can.