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Suggestions of government interference in ESRI paper withdrawal 'unfounded'

The Economic and Social Research Institute has issued another statement in relation to the controversial working paper which it withdrew yesterday.

Richard Tol
Richard Tol
Image: Screengrab via RTÉ

THE ECONOMIC AND Social Research Institute (ESRI) has this evening issued another statement insisting that any suggestions its controversial paper on the costs of working was withdrawn because of pressure from government are ‘unfounded’.

The ESRI said that the sole reason for withdrawing the paper which stated that as many as 44 per cent of people with children would be better off on the dole rather than working was because its analysis was “seriously flawed”.

“Any suggestion that the paper was withdrawn because of pressure, of any sort, from government, or any other source, is entirely unfounded,” a statement said.

The paper’s senior author Richard Tol stood by his work in radio interviews this morning, saying: “I’ve absolutely no problem with my professionalism here.

You may say something about the ESRI’s professionalism but not about mine.

But the ESRI said this evening that its former employee was now in possession of a revised draft of the paper which came to different conclusions to the original working paper.

The statement continued: “We are aware that Professor Tol is now in possession of a revised draft of the paper which indicates that the percentage of people with children who would be better off on social welfare than working is not 44 per cent but less than 10 per cent.

“Professor Tol did not follow ESRI procedures when submitting the Working Paper, which is how it came to be posted on the website.”

Tol told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he did not see any reason to change the main conclusions of his paper and indicated that it would probably be published as a working paper of the University of Sussex where he is now based.

The thinktank said that in light of this incident it would be revising procedures for the release of working papers on the ESRI website “to ensure that a similar situation does not arise in the future.”

Column: The problems with Richard Tol’s ESRI working paper

Read: Richard Tol: This says more about the ESRI’s professionalism than mine

Read: ESRI paper which said many would be better off on dole withdrawn

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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