SPIRe’s week ten seminar will feature SPIRe’s Drs. Samuel Brazys and Niamh Hardiman presenting on their research on “From Tiger to PIIGS. Ireland and the use of heuristics in comparative political economy.” from 12:00-13:00 Wednesday, April 17th in G316 Newman Building, UCD Belfield. All are welcome.
“The PIIGS are…” “The BRICS will…” “The LDCs can…” Heuristics pervade the lexicon of international and comparative political economy. Grouping actors based on perceived or observed characteristics can facilitate discussion and analysis. However, an over-reliance on heuristics can also lead to sloppy or improper narratives where the heuristics help drive common observed outcomes. In this paper we look at the narrative construction of the “PIIGS” (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) group and trace how it was that Ireland became a member of this (in)famous grouping. We examine the process by which the group came into being, and assess the merits for classifying the countries together. We then perform simple empirical tests and find evidence of Granger causality that increased media usage of the term “PIIGS” precedes an increased similarity in interest rate correlations between Ireland and the other PIIGS compared to the interest rate correlations between Ireland and the “northern” euro-zone economies. We conclude with more general thoughts and cautions on the use of heuristics in comparative political economy.