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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Remove constraint Publishing Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Topic Government Remove constraint Topic: Government
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  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Budget consolidation is dominating the political agenda. The Hungarian government has embarked on an ambitious four-year consolidation programme following another election-year peak in the deficit in 2006 at 9.2% of GDP. The immediate revenue increases and spending cuts are temporarily damping growth. However, if all goes according to plan, the programme will bring dividends to the economy in the longer term. This payoff is crucially dependent on: Discipline in budgetary processes. Work needs to continue on strengthening budgetary mechanisms. A system of binding medium-term spending limits should be considered. Budgetary reform also needs to extend to the sub-national governments. Success in maintaining spending freezes. The re-scheduling that brought forward part of the 13th month payment to public-sector workers this year does not affect achievement of the 2007 fiscal target in accrual terms. Nevertheless, looking forward, strong resistance to spending pressures arising from revenue windfalls is of key importance. Implementation of the structural reform programme. The healthcare reforms that are expected to deliver a large share of fiscal savings are reasonably well advanced and a welcome cut in gas-price subsidies is already reducing government spending. The reforms in education are positive but the changes to the tuition–fee system in particular should go further. It is more uncertain, however, whether all the planned cuts in government administration will be realised. Successful reform of public spending requires the participation of the counties and municipal governments. There are potential savings in administrative overheads here too and sub-national governments are responsible for providing many government services. In-depth review of these issues in this Survey reveals a need to: Capture economies of scale. Political constraints preclude widespread mergers among the large number of small municipalities. However, the joint provision of services is widespread and should be encouraged further. Efforts to rationalise through replacement of county-level governments with regional assemblies should continue. Reform financing systems. The financing of sub-national government needs simplification and greater transparency and oversight in accounts. Also, the benchmarking of services via output and performance indicators needs to become more widespread. Reform of local taxation should include widening of property tax and removal of the local business tax. Hungary's low employment rate remains a key structural handicap to economic performance. There has been welcome reform of unemployment benefits and early-retirement pensions. Planned reforms to disability pensions look promising and a concrete proposal for old-age pension reform is in the pipeline. This Survey looks in depth at the issue of prolonged parental leave and other aspects of family policy: Current efforts to boost childcare services are welcome. Future reform needs to consider further strengthening of central-government provision requirements on municipalities regarding these services, matched by appropriate funding. A system of childcare vouchers for parents would be one way of increasing efficiency in the provision of services. Reform to the very long parental leaves should be considered, along with changes to the attendant system of additional cash benefits. Savings could be used to help fund increased childcare services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Governments have long been engaged in providing goods or services to their citizens that could, in some form, be provided by the private sector. The trend over the past few decades, however, has been to transfer these functions, and the state-owned assets used to provide them, to private hands. The most common method, and the one usually preferred, is privatisation, or outright sale or transfer of ownership of the relevant assets to one or more private parties. A second, however, is concessions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Markets
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sweden's 1993 Competition Act (CA) remains the foundation of a broad policy approach that includes prohibitions against restrictive agreements and abuse of dominance, control of concentrations, advocacy and support for academic research. Enforcement of this legislation by the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) marked a shift towards a judicial, rules-based approach.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Are policies to protect the environment giving value for money – and how can we know? Recognising that policy decisions should be based on a comparison of costs and benefits, a number of OECD governments have introduced legal provisions requiring a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of new environmental regulations or measures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Parliamentarians are at the heart of democratic systems. They pass laws and hold government purse strings. Because of their important role in national policy-making, it is only natural that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) co-operate with parliamentarians when formulating its policy advice. So keeping parliamentarians informed of its activities and getting their feedback is a high priority for the Organisation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Government
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Preserving the environment is high on the agenda for both governments and society. Governments in OECD countries are using a variety of instruments to change environmentally harmful behaviour, and taxes have proved a useful string to their bow. Using taxes to achieve an environmental objective, such as reducing emissions of a particular pollutant, is efficient from an economic point of view and offers flexibility to adapt for those affected. Direct regulation of polluting activities, for example by setting legal limits on the emission level of certain pollutants, forces immediate compliance regardless of the comparative cost for different businesses and individuals, and can be more difficult and costly for some than for others. Environmental taxes leave more flexibility for those affected, because they can essentially “buy time” to make changes which will mean they do not have to pay the tax in the future. Thus, a tax on polluting activities or products allows those who can cut emissions cheaply to do so first, while allowing those with higher pollution control costs to pay the tax while taking time to make technological adjustments. This means that the economy as a whole will meet the same environmental objective more cheaply than by using direct regulation. While using taxes to achieve environmental objectives is clearly efficient for the economy as a whole, however, in practice individual businesses or sectors may resist because they will be “losers” in the equation. Governments need to address such concerns about the negative impacts of environmental taxes on sectoral competitiveness and on income distribution if environmentally related taxes are to be a useful tool. This Policy Brief looks at the political economy of environmental taxes and how governments can use them in conjunction with other policy instruments to achieve their environmental objectives.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Environment, Government, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Cutting red tape is a priority on the political agenda. Businesses and citizens complain that they spend much time and devote significant resources to activities such as filling out forms, applying for permits and licences, reporting business information, notifying changes, etc.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Democratic governments want policies that are in the best interest of their citizens. But how can they – and their voters – be sure they are making the right choices? One answer is by learning from the tried and tested experience of others. One of the OECD'score strengths is its ability to offer its 30 members a framework to examine and compare experiences and discuss “best practices” in a host of areas from economic policy to environmental protection or strategies to create jobs.
  • Topic: Democratization, Environment, Government, International Cooperation
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's evolution from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy is leading to major transformations of its public expenditure policies. Much progress has been made in raising infrastructure spending to a level more in line with China's development needs and in modernising mechanisms for budget planning and implementation. Nevertheless, significant challenges remain.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's economic growth has averaged 9½ per cent over the past two decades. The rapid pace of economic change is likely to be sustained for some time. These gains have contributed not only to higher personal incomes, but also to a significant reduction in poverty. At the same time, the economy has become substantially integrated with the world economy. A large part of these gains have come through profound shifts in government policies. Reforms have allowed market prices and private investors to play a significant role in production and trade.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia