Unemployment: The Need for Change is now reissued in PDF Format at no cost to the reader. This is because of the rise in unemployment internationally. Although written originally with Ireland in mind, the study will help governments and others throughout the world to clarify their understanding of the problem and develop better solutions to unemployment.

When first published in 1988 Ireland’s unemployment rate was almost 17%. It then fell over the years to just over 4% in 2005. Since then it has increased significantly and is expected to reach 14% in 2010.

The book looks at the cost of unemployment and the impact of demographic variables on the labour market. It also looks at a range of solutions to unemployment.
First, it contrasts private sector with public sector approaches and refers to the weaknesses of unmanaged markets in maximising employment. It looks at industrial policy and the role of employers and unions.

It also looks at the possibilities of worksharing and profit-sharing.

In addition, it considers the role of higher education and the tourism sector and the possibilities of community-based job schemes.

Economics has failed to anticipate the economic challenges of recent times. It has also failed to provide a sound and effective link to the political process and the needs of society. Economics was originally called political economy.

In this context, the final chapter refers to the political challenges of dealing with unemployment. Here governments are advised on ways of taking a more active and cohesive approach to confronting serious unemployment – a role which now becomes more relevant today.

The book was based on a 1986 Conference on Unemployment, DIT, Cathal Brugha St., Dublin 1, Ireland. See also.

PDF copy (no cost)


Part I: Introduction

  • Ch. 1:   The Extent of Unemployment, Anto Kerins
  • Ch. 2:   The Costs of Unemployment, Richard Breen
  • Ch. 3:   The Impact of Demographic Variables on Unemployment, Brendan Walsh

Part II: Private or Public

  • Ch. 4:   Employment: A Private Sector Approach, John Bruton
  • Ch. 5:   Employment: Markets or Managed, Anto Kerins
  • Ch. 6:   Employment: Industrial Policy & the Public Sector, Kieran Kennedy

Part III: Employers and Unions

  • Ch. 7:   Employers & Unemployment: The UK Experience, Keith MacMillan
  • Ch. 8:   Unions & Unemployment: An International Perspective, M.F. O’Shea
  • Ch. 9:   Employers, Unions & Unemployment, Bertie Ahern

Part IV: Sharing Employment

  • Ch. 10: Worksharing & Unemployment Reduction, William Roche
  • Ch. 11: Employment & Profit Sharing, Martin Weitzman

Part V: Education & Tourism

  • Ch. 12: Employment & Third Level Education, Michael O’Donnell
  • Ch. 13: Tourism in Ireland: An Employment Growth Area, Brian Deane
  • Ch. 14: Irish Experience of Community-Based Job Schemes, Ruairi Quinn
  • Ch. 15: The Third Sector as a Job Creator in the OECD, Chris Brooks
  • Ch. 16: An Agenda for the Future, Anto Kerins


  • Unemployment: Solutions, Costs, Demographic Factors
  • Private Sector Approach
  • Managing Markets for Employment
  • Employment & Industrial Policy, Unions & Unemployment
  • Worksharing & Unemployment
  • Profit Sharing & Unemployment
  • Employment & 3rd Level Education
  • Employment & Tourism
  • Community-based Job Schemes; The Third Sector
  • The Jobs Forum Proposal - (Please also see the 1991 article on the Jobs Forum idea.)



Anto Kerins is a senior lecturer in the Dublin Institute of Technology.


  • Bertie Ahern is an important Irish political figure. He was Taoiseach (Prime Minister) between 1997 and 2007.
  • Richard Breen is Professor of Sociology at Yale University.
  • Chris Brooks is Professor at Sciences Po in Paris.
  • John Bruton is an important Irish political figure. He was Taoiseach between 1994 and 1997.
  • Brian Deane was a senior manager of the Irish tourism authority at the time.
  • Kieran Kennedy was Director of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland at the time.
  • Keith MacMillan was professor of management studies in Henley Management College (UK) at the time.
  • Michael O’Donnell was Director of the DIT at the time.
  • M. F. O’Shea was a specialist in industrial relations at the time.
  • Ruairi Quinn is an important Irish political figure. He was leader of the Irish Labour Party between 1997 and 2002.
  • William K. Roche is Professor of Industrial Relations & Human Resources at University College Dublin.
  • Brendan Walsh was professor of economics at University College Dublin at the time.
  • Martin Weitzman is Professor of Economics in Harvard University.