ESRI: Author of 'flawed' welfare report 'did not follow procedures'13/06/2012 - 18:03:16
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has this evening distanced itself from the controversial 'The Cost of Working in Ireland' report.
The document, deemed a working paper, suggested that up to 44% of working parents could be financially better off on social welfare, when costs such as childcare and transport are taken into account.
"Professor Richard Tol, now at the University of Sussex, is the senior author of the Working Paper," said an ESRI statement.
"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%, but less than 10%.
"Professor Tol did not follow ESRI procedures when submitting the working paper, which is how it came to be posted on the website.
"In the light of this episode, procedures for the release of working papers on the ESRI website will be revised to ensure that a similar situation does not arise in the future."
The think-tank also denied that the Government had any role in the removal of the document from the ESRI website.
"The working paper ….was removed from the ESRI website yesterday because senior ESRI researchers, who are experts in this area, concluded that the analysis it contains is seriously flawed.
"This was the sole reason for withdrawing the Working Paper. Any suggestion that the paper was withdrawn because of pressure, of any sort, from government, or any other source, is entirely unfounded."
Earlier today, Professor Tol said that the conclusions in the paper still stand.
"I'm a bit surprised for two reasons," he said.
"That I had to hear this from a journalist, and second that the paper is withdrawn - because as far as I know the conclusions stand.
"It is true that we are revising the paper, but it is mostly to do with the flow of the writing and we're doing additional analyses - but we're not changing the conclusions."