National Productivity Week 27th January 2025 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

Productivity in Northern Ireland

This year marks the centenary of Northern Ireland’s creation. What has it done for the economy? And in particular for the productivity of its people and businesses? Has greater economic stability in the 23 years since the Good Friday agreement helped to advance productivity? And what will Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol mean for productivity going forward? Host Bart van Ark talks to three experts – Dame Rotha Johnston, Professor John Turner and Dr. Esmond Birnie about the productivity pearls and perils in Northern Ireland.

About our guests

Dame Rotha Johnston is independent non-executive Chair of the Board of Northern Ireland Electricity Networks, Chairperson of Northern Ireland Screen, a member of KPMG’s Northern Ireland Advisory Board, previously also pro-Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast. She is also the Chair of the Northern Ireland Productivity forum. In 2016 she was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the Northern Ireland economy and public service.

Dr. Esmond Birnie is a Senior Economist in the Business School at Ulster University. He was also the Chief Economist for PwC in Northern Ireland and Scotland during 2010-16, and various advisory positions for the government of NI. Esmond is an export on the NI regional economy, devolution and fiscal policy and on productivity and competitiveness in NI and the Republic since the 1990s.

Professor John Turner is Professor of Finance and Financial History at Queen’s University Belfast where he has researched the history of banking, banking crises, bubbles, and financial markets. He has authored several important articles and books, most recently his book, titled, Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, was on one of the Financial Times Best Economics Book of the Year and has been covered widely in the national and international media. And John is the lead on our Productivity Forum in Northern Ireland.

Catch up on our past episodes here: