The economic resilience of Irish counties for subsequent recessions and the impact of population distribution on resilience

Barraí Hennebry


Relevance. Much research was undertaken on regional economic resilience after the financial crisis of 2008. The current crisis caused by Covid19 provides an opportunity to understand further the nature of regional economic resilience. It also provides an opportunity to analyse the urban-rural divide of economic resilience for two recessions.

Research objective. There are two main objectives of this study Firstly, to understand if resilience to one recession provides a good indication of resilience to a subsequent recession. The second aim is to understand the urban-rural differences in regional economic resilience in Ireland.

Data and methods. This is a quantitative study which uses data from the Irish Central Statistics Office regarding unemployment and population distribution. To understand economic resilience a sensitivity index is used and to check for correlation the Pearson coefficient is used.

Results. Results show that there is no correlation between resilience to the financial crisis and resilience to the Covid19 crisis. Population distribution was not a determinant of resilience to the financial crisis. However, population distribution was a determinant of resilience to the Covid19 crisis. Counties with high population in ‘independent urban towns’ or ‘rural areas with moderate urban influence’ were more resilient while counties with high population in ‘satellite urban towns’ or ‘rural areas with high urban influence’ were more vulnerable.

Conclusions. Economic resilience to one recession is not a good indication of resilience to future recessions. Counties with population in urban centres or more reliant on urban areas were less resilient to the Covid19 crisis.


Regional economic resilience; urban-rural divide; Ireland; Covid19; recession

Full Text:



Berkes, F., & Folke, C. (1998). Linking social and ecological systems: Management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Breathnach, P., van Egeraat, C. & Curran, D. (2015). Regional economic resilience in Ireland: The roles of industrial structure and foreign inward investment. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2(1), pp. 497–517.

Cellini, R., & Cuccia, T. (2019). Do behaviours in cultural markets affect economic resilience? An analysis of Italian regions. European Planning Studies, 27(4), pp. 784–801.

Central Bank of Ireland (2020). Quarterly bulletin. QB2 – April 2020 []

Davoudi, S. (2012). Resilience: A bridging concept or a dead end? Planning Theory and Practice, 13(1), pp. 299–307.

Dokic, I., Frohlich, Z. & Bakaric, I.R. (2016). The impact of the economic crisis on regional disparities in Croatia. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 9(1), pp. 179–195.

ESPON. (2014). ECR2 – Economic crisis: Resilience of regions. Scientific Report. Luxembourg: ESPON.

Fitzgerald, J. (2014). Ireland’s recovery from crisis. CESifo Forum ifo Institut - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universität München, München, 15(2), pp. 8-13.

Fröhlich, K., & Hassink, R. (2018). Regional resilience: a stretched concept?. European Planning Studies, 26(9), pp. 1763–1778.

Hassink, R. (2010). Regional resilience: A promising concept to explain differences in regional economic adaptability? Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3, pp. 45–58.

Hauke, J., & Kossowski, T. (2011). Comparison of values of Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlation coefficient on the same sets of data. Quaestiones Geographicae, 30(2), pp. 87–93.

Hennebry, B. (2018). Regional resilience in Ireland and the existence of a two-tier recovery. Quaestiones Geographicae, 37(4), pp. 99–110.

Hennebry, B. (2020). The determinants of economic resilience in rural regions. An examination of the Portuguese case. Miscellanea Geographica, 24(1), pp. 24–29

Holling, C.S. (1973). Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annual Review of Ecological Systems, 4, pp. 1–23.

Holling, C.S. (1996). Engineering resilience versus ecological resilience. In P.C. Schulze (Ed.) Engineering within ecological constraints (pp. 31–44). National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Lang, T. (2012). How do cities and regions adapt to socio-economic crisis? Towards an institutionalist approach to urban and regional resilience. Raumforschung und Raumordnung, 70(4), pp. 285–291.

Lapuh, L. (2018). Socio-economic characteristics of resilient localities – experiences from Slovenia. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 5(1), pp. 149–156.

Martin, R. (2012). Regional economic resilience, hysteresis and recessionary shocks. Journal of Economic Geography, 12 (1), pp. 1–32.

Martin, R., & Gardiner, B. (2019). The resilience of cities to economic shocks: A tale of four recessions (and the challenge of Brexit). Papers in Regional Science, 98(4), pp. 1801–1832

Martin, R., & Sunley, P. (2015). On the notion of regional economic resilience: Conceptualization and explanation. Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 15(1), pp. 1–42.

Morgenroth, E. (2014). Two-speed recovery? Spatial development in Ireland. ESRI Research Notes 4/2.

Ringwood, L., Watson, P. & Lewin, P. (2018). A quantitative method for measuring regional economic resilience to the great recession. Growth and change 2018, pp. 1–22

Rodgers, J.L., & Nicewander, W.A. (1988). Thirteen ways to look at the correlation coefficient. The American Statistician, 42(1), pp. 59–66

Ruane, F. (2016). Ireland – a remarkable economic recovery? The Australian Economic Review, 49(3), pp. 241–250.

Sánchez-Zamora, P., Gallarado-Cobos, R. & Cena-Delgado, F. (2014). Rural areas face the economic crisis: analyzing the determinants of successful territorial dynamics. Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 35(2014), pp. 11–25

Sensier, M., & Artis, M. (2016). The resilience of employment in Wales: through recession and into recovery. Regional Studies, 50(4), pp. 586–599

Simmie, J.M., (2017). The Evolution of Economic Resilience in Cities: Re-invention versus replication. In N. Williams & T. Vorley (Ed.) Creating Resilient Economies: Entrepreneurship, Growth and Development in Uncertain Times (pp. 70–88). Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

Simmie, J., & Martin, R. (2010). The economic resilience of regions: Towards an evolutionary approach. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3(1), pp. 27–43.

Tan, J., Lo, K., Qiu, F., Liu, W., Li, J. & Zhang, P. (2017). Regional economic resilience: Resistance and recoverability of resource-based cities during economic crises in northeast China. Sustainability, 9(12), 2136.

Tóth, B.I. (2015). Regional economic resilience: concepts, empirics and a critical review. Miscellanea Geographica, 19(3), pp. 70–75


Copyright (c) 2020 Barraí Hennebry