Research by the Economic and Social Research Institute has rejected the idea that people can earn more by being on social welfare than by taking a job.

It says selected, non-typical examples of social welfare payments have created the mistaken impression that unemployed people are better off on the dole.

According to the ESRI, only about 3% of the unemployed would have a lower income if they took a job.

Using the Institute's tax-benefits model, which uses a nationally representative sample of real people rather than selected examples, it says eight out of ten unemployed people would increase their incomes by 50% if they took a job. Six out of ten double their income with a job.

The ESRI's model looks at the welfare entitlements and tax liabilities of each household in the Central Statistics Office survey on income and living conditions.

It takes potential entitlements of unemployed people to rent and mortgage supplements into account, but finds that only 13% those on jobseekers' benefit or assistance get these payments.