Economic growth comes from a number of sources: natural factor endowments; human resources; investment; entrepreneurship; and astute political management of this mix. Measuring economic growth is not straightforward since there is no clear agreement about the most appropriate metric to use. Most measures tend to be divided into two rough categories, depending on whether they favour income or consumptionoriented statistics. Whatever the measure, most analysts agree that the Republic of Ireland’s performance throughout the post-independence period was poor. Lee (1989: 514) notes that between 1910 and 1970 Ireland recorded the slowest growth of per capita income out of any European country except the UK. For the Republic, every country ranked above Ireland in the early twentieth century pulled much further ahead, and those that were below either overtook or significantly narrowed the gap (ibid.; Haughton, 2000), with the result that ‘the Irish growth rate came at the bottom of the European table by a long way’ (Lee, 1989: 514).
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