Dr Esmond Birnie

Senior Economist (Economic Research)

Department of Acc, Finance & Economics

Belfast campus

Room BA-02-030,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Business and Management Research

Senior Economist (Economic Research)

Dr Esmond Birnie


Esmond has been a Senior Economist in the Business School since October 2016. Prior to that, he was Chief Economist for PwC in Northern Ireland and Scotland during 2010-16. (And, before that, a Special Advisor to the Northern Ireland Executive Employment and Learning Minister (2007-10), a MLA (1998-2007) and an economics Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University (1989-98).)

As well as teaching a range of microeconomic and macroeconomic courses his research interests include: the Northern Ireland regional economy, devolution and fiscal policy, productivity and competitiveness comparisons between regions and countries, evaluation of the Manifesto commitments of the NI political Parties and the outcomes achieved by the Stormont Executive, and the impact of ethics and religion on the development of economic thought.

He is author and co-author of six books on aspects of the Northern Ireland economy and inter-regional and international competitiveness comparisons. He has published more than 15 academic journal articles- recently in Regional Studies (2016) and (2019) on the fiscal powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly and competitiveness comparisons (respectively) and in the Journal of Economic Affairs (2018) regarding comparisons of Northern Ireland to the Nordic economies.

Esmond provides regular media commentary about the Northern Ireland economy including policy decisions and performance of the NI Executive as well as wider issues about applied economics. This includes several articles each month in the Belfast Telegraph and regular appearances on the regional media. In terms of international media- he has been cited by The Guardian, The Times, Irish Times, Washington Times, Daily Mail, BBC News Channel and RTE.

He has provided evidence to Westminster Committees: the Department for Exiting from the EU (October 2019), the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (March 2020).

Recent research clients include: Department of Finance, Department for Infrastructure, Department for the Economy, Federation of Small Businesses, Northern Ireland Water.