ireland's emerging information economy: recent trends and future prospects

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Colorado - Health Science Library]On: 26 September 2014, At: 12:00Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: MortimerHouse, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    Ireland's Emerging Information Economy: RecentTrends and Future ProspectsSeamus Grimes aa Department of Geography/Centre for Innovation and Structural Change , NationalUniversity of Ireland , Galway, Eire E-mail:Published online: 18 Aug 2010.

    To cite this article: Seamus Grimes (2003) Ireland's Emerging Information Economy: Recent Trends and Future Prospects,Regional Studies, 37:1, 3-14, DOI: 10.1080/0034340022000033367

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  • Regional Studies, Vol. 37.1, pp. 314, 2003

    Irelands Emerging Information Economy:Recent Trends and Future Prospects

    SEAMUS GRIMESDepartment of Geography/Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, National University of Ireland, Galway, Eire.


    (Received June 2001; in revised form March and July 2002)

    GRIMES S. (2003) Irelands emerging information economy: recent trends and future prospects, Reg. Studies 37, 314. Thispaper examines the emergence of information economy related activity through inward investment and the indigenous sectorin one of Europes most peripheral regions. Irelands recent economic resurgence has benefited considerably from internationalcorporate restructuring as US multinationals in particular reconfigured their operations within Europes single market. Despitethe on-going concern about over-dependence on FDI, policy makers in Ireland seek to ensure that both skills and infrastructuralrequirements are adequately provided in order to solidify Irelands attractiveness for investment while, at the same time,encouraging the growth of indigenous high technology companies. Although internationally traded services sectors such assoftware, financial services, telemarketing and shared services have expanded considerably in recent years, the overall level ofregionalization of these activities within the country has been disappointing to date.

    Foreign direct investment Internationally traded services Software Regionalization

    GRIMES S. (2003) Leconomie de linformation naissante en GRIMES S. (2003) Irlands aufkommende Informationswirt-Irlande: tendances recentes et perspectives davenir, Reg. schaft: kurzlich aufgetretene Tendenzen und Zukunftsaus-Studies 37, 314. Par moyen de linvestissement direct sichten, Reg. Studies 37, 314. Dieser Aufsatz untersucht dasetranger et par lindustrie autochtone dans une des regions les Aufkommen Informationswirtschaft bezogener Unterneh-plus peripheriques dEurope, cet article cherche a examiner la men durch Investitionen aus dem Ausland und dem einhei-naissance de lactivite liee a leconomie de linformation. La mischen Sektor in einer der abgelegensten Regionenreprise economique recente en Irlande a profite consider- Europas. Irlands jungstes wirtschaftliches Wiederaufleben hatablement de la restructuration des societes internationales au betrachtlich von internationaler korporativer Umstruktur-fur et a mesure que, notamment les societes americaines, ont ierung profitiert, besonders als multinationale Firmen derredefini leurs activites au sein du marche unique europeen. USA sich auf Durchfuhrung ihrer Geschafte im gemein-En depit des soucis continuels quant a la dependance exces- samen Markt Europas umstellten. Trotz aktueller Besorgnissive vis a vis de lIDE, les decideurs irlandais cherchent a uber all zu grosse Abhangigkeit von Investierungen imfaire en sorte que les habilites requises et linfrastructure Ausland, suchen die fur Politik Verantwortlichen in Irlandnecessaire soient suffisamment assurees afin de consolider sicherzustellen, da sowohl Fertigkeiten als auch infra-lattrait de lIrlande pour linvestissement, tout en encour- strukturelle Anspruche angemessen erfullt werden, damitageant le developpement des entreprises autotochtones a la Irlands Anziehungskraft fur Investoren erhalten bleibt, gleich-pointe de la technologie. Bien que les services echanges sur zeitig aber auch das Wachstum einheimischer Hochtechnol-le plan international, tels le logiciel, les services financiers, le ogiefirmen ermutigt wird. Obschon international gehandeltetelemarketing, et les services communs, se soient developpes Dienstleistungssektoren wie Software, finanzielle Dienstleis-dans les dernieres annees, Le niveau general de la regionalis- tungen, Telemarketing und gemeinsame Dienstleistungen ination de ces activites au sein du pays laisse toujours a desirer. den letzten Jahren betrachtlich zugenommen haben, ist die

    Gesamthohe der Regionalisierung dieser geschaftlichenInvestissement direct etranger Unternehmungen im Lande bisher enttauschend geringServices echanges sur le plan international geblieben.Logiciel Regionalisation

    Auslandische DirektinvestierungInternational gehandelte DienstleistungenSoftware Regionalisierung

    0034-3404 print/1360-0591 online/03/010003-12 2003 Regional Studies Association DOI: 10.1080/0034340022000033367




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  • 4 Seamus Grimes

    INTRODUCTION of strong economic performance, noting its evolvingnature over time and the role of the state in seeking toupgrade this investment. The relative success of IrelandThis paper traces the emergence of information econ-

    omy activities in Ireland in recent decades. It begins by in attracting this investment, despite its peripheral loca-tion within the European market, has not been matchedexamining how the new information and communi-

    cation technologies are helping to transform the geo- by a similar success to date in regionalizing this invest-ment throughout the country.graphy of economic activity, as they enable companies

    to remain competitive in an increasingly globalized The paper also looks at indigenous internationallytraded services, particularly in the software sector,economy. Among the consequences of the restructur-

    ing of transnational corporations has been the which currently is almost as significant as the overseas-owned activity in terms of employment, despite havingdecentralization of activities such as back office and

    software localization as they seek more competitive only one-tenth of its export revenues. The changingpattern of teleservice activity from back offices initially,locations for outsourcing non-core transaction pro-

    cessing. This restructuring has presented peripheral to call centres and shared services centres1 more recentlyis analysed, while Irelands most significant cluster ofcountries like Ireland with new opportunities to attract

    increasingly sophisticated foreign investment in the back offices, located in the International FinancialServices Centre in Dublin, is also examined.internationally traded services sector, helping this peri-

    pheral region to reposition its industrial strategy awayfrom less competitive sectors towards those associated

    THE INFORMATION ECONOMYwith the information economy.

    An important aspect of Irelands improved economic One of the most critical developments of the 1990swas the organizational transformation of the productionperformance in recent years has been its relative success

    in attracting significant levels of inward investment in process, which included the transformation of multi-national companies and resulted in global productioninternationally traded services, such as software, finan-

    cial services, and a variety of teleservices including being carried out by transnational production networks(CASTELLS, 2000). The new production system reliesshared services. Although there are statistical problems

    associated with delineating internationally traded ser- on a combination of strategic alliances and