Public Spending

Analysis: Delay gratification, or give in to temptation? Government faces its own social experiment with corporate tax receipts

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is warning the government to park its budget surpluses, but calls to use the money are growing

Miisters for Finance and Public Expenditure Michael McGrath and Pashcal Donohue have been cautioned to stick to state’s 5% national spending rule, advice no one wants to hear in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and looming €65bn surplus. Picture: Fergal Phillips

The Stanford marshmallow experiment famously tested children’s capacity for delayed gratification by offering them two marshmallows if they could resist eating one for 15 minutes.

The original 1972 experiment linked the ability to hold out on eating the first marshmallow with better life outcomes, like higher scores in exams and a healthier body mass index.

It appears somebody is running a similar experiment on the Irish government. The sweet temptation of burgeoning corporate tax receipts ...