Professor Alan Barrett

Professor Alan Barrett is the Chief Executive Officer of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland’s leading centre for applied social science research.

As CEO, his primary responsibility is to ensure that the mission of the Institute is fulfilled, that is,  “to produce economic and social research on key issues facing Ireland and to communicate  research results to inform public policymaking and civil society”.  Alan  is also  a member of the  Northern  Ireland Fiscal Council.

Research Interests

Most of his research has  been in the areas of labour economics, population economics and  macroeconomics.


Alan received his Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University and joined  the ESRI the same year. He was seconded to the Department of Finance (Ireland’s Treasury) from 2001 to 2003 and to Trinity College Dublin from 2011  to  2013.

Additional Information

His academic  work has been published in journals such as Labour Economics,  the Journal of Population Economicsthe Oxford Review of Economic Policy, the Industrial and Labour Relations Reviewthe British Journal of Industrial Relations, the International Migration ReviewPopulation Research and Policy Reviewthe Economic and Social  Review,  the National Institute Economic Review and Economics Letters.

Early in his career at the ESRI he undertook work on environmental economics.  In 1997,he co-authored a book on environmental policy  (The  Fiscal  System and the Polluter  Pays  Principle:  A Case-study of Ireland, Ashgate: UK). Between 2005 and 2010,  he  was  a lead author of the  ESRI’s  Quarterly Economic  Commentary.

He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Research Fellow with the Institute for Labour Economics (IZA)  in  Bonn, Germany, an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland  and an Adjunct Professor at the Department  of  Economics, Trinity College Dublin.  He was a member of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council from 2011  to  2015 and a  Member (ex officio)  of Ireland’s  Climate Change Advisory Council from  2015 to 2021.

He is a frequent contributor to radio and television discussions on economic matters and has been quoted  in newspapers such as The New York Times,  The Wall Street Journal and The Economist.