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  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Societies produce ever-growing quantities of solid waste, from packaging to abandoned televisions and cars. Disposing of this waste, often by burying it in landfills or burning it, produces significant soil contamination, as well as air and water pollution. It is particularly important to manage hazardous solid waste safely and efficiently.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • 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: The economy is experiencing a favourable period of robust growth, low unemployment and moderate underlying inflation. This largely reflects the effects of globalisation, of which Norway has been a prime beneficiary, supplying energy and other commodities at high prices and increasingly importing products from low-cost countries. Sizeable labour migration inflows, together with sustained productivity growth, have kept cost inflation at a moderate pace. A tradition of foreign trade openness, domestic competition, a good policy framework and sound macroeconomic management have meant that Norway was well prepared to take advantage of these international trends.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • 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: Spain's economy has managed a remarkable performance in terms of growth, employment and public finances over more than a decade. A combination of expansionary monetary conditions, fiscal prudence, beneficial structural reforms and the positive supply-side effects of the strong rise in immigration has contributed to these outcomes. But these favourable developments are tempered by deterioration in several areas: the still high inflation differential has harmed competitiveness, and the resulting low real interest rates entail excessive domestic demand, which has been supported, jointly with employment growth and immigration, by ongoing rapid increases in household indebtedness and house prices. Despite some improvement, growth has therefore remained unbalanced as manifest in the large external deficit. Looking ahead, productivity gains are still modest, risking a substantial weakening in output and per capita income growth in the coming years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Before a firm can compete in a market, it has to be able to enter it. Many markets have at least some impediments that make it more difficult for a firm to enter a market. A debate over how to define the term “barriers to entry” began decades ago, however, and it has yet to be won. Some scholars have argued, for example, that an obstacle is not an entry barrier if incumbent firms faced it when they entered the market. Others contend that an entry barrier is anything that hinders entry and has the effect of reducing or limiting competition. A number of other definitions have been proposed, but none of them has emerged as a clear favourite. Because the debate remains unsettled but the various definitions continue to be used as analytical tools, the possibility of confusion – and therefore of flawed competition policy – has lingered for many years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, 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: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: After several false starts, the economic recovery has taken hold. Activity was strong in 2006, firms and households are more confident about the future, business investment has picked up and unemployment has fallen below 8% for the first time since 2001. There are encouraging signs that the recovery is broadening to embrace household consumption as well. If in addition structural reforms continue, the expansion will become durable and self-sustaining, a prospect also supported by sound corporate and household balance sheets and favourable financing conditions. All this is good news, though it should be kept in perspective. Growth of around 2¼ per cent per annum projected for 2007 and 2008 is still modest by OECD standards, although the growth gap is smaller when measured on a per capita basis. Still, it could take until 2008 for cyclical slack to be fully absorbed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Theodora Xenogiani, Robert E.B. Lucas, Louka T. Katseli
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Managing migration has become a priority for policy makers both in developed and developing countries; it is a difficult challenge indeed. Large immigration or emigration flows relative to domestic population's impact on almost all aspects of an economy and society: family structures, community life, educational and health systems, labour markets, security systems, governance and institutions. Despite the inherent difficulties in policy making, there is a growing awareness that if management can be improved, important gains for both migrant-receiving (“host”) and migrant-sending (“home”) countries may be generated. Effective management can furthermore mitigate the risks associated with migration.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: In the past 25 years Argentina has made considerable, if uneven, progress toward building a successful market economy. In any country, an effective competition policy is an important part of that effort. Argentina's progress in competition policy has also been uneven, having been affected in many ways by the country's turbulent political and economic history.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: In OECD countries, rural areas account for three-quarters of the land and are home to a quarter of the population. Rapid changes in the international economy clearly have a different effect on these regions than on cities and towns, offering different challenges but also different opportunities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Substantial progress in macroeconomic stabilisation and institutional reform has laid a foundation for strong GDP growth. However, the recent inflation shock and turmoil in the financial markets highlight Turkey's on-going vulnerabilities. A further comprehensive programme of structural reform would increase productivity growth, expand the formal sector of the economy and consolidate macroeconomic stability.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Internet has become a basic fact of everyday life for millions of people worldwide, from e-mail to online shopping. Ever faster and more accessible connections available on a wider range of platforms, such as mobile phones or person to person portable devices, have spurred new e-commerce opportunities. Online shopping and banking are increasingly widespread and over the next 10 years, the Net is expected to become as common as gas or electricity. Google's “Internet Chief Evangelist” Vinton Cerf, has predicted that by 2016, “everything from the family fridge to the office coffee pot … heating, cooling, and security systems … will be managed through the Internet; … by then, the Internet will become so pervasive that connecting to it will no longer be a conscious act.”
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of all economies and are a key source of economic growth, dynamism and flexibility in advanced industrialised countries, as well as in emerging and developing economies. SMEs constitute the dominant form of business organisation, accounting for over 95% and up to 99% of enterprises depending on the country. They are responsible for between 60-70% net job creation in OECD countries. Small businesses are particularly important for bringing innovative products or techniques to the market.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Markets
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Milan ranks among wealthy OECD metropolitan regions and is often identified with the “Made in Italy” brand on the international arena, notably for fashion and design. Once a successful industrial city, Milan has grown into the core of a wider industrial metropolitan region that is home to more than 7 million people. Industrial activities still drive the region's periphery while the centre of Milan is veering towards becoming a service platform for a significant share of northern Italy. Milan's historical skills endowment and its advantageous geographic location could underpin its ambition to become a southern European and Mediterranean capital, supplying advanced services and new technologies while remaining an international capital of fashion and design.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A traditional objective of agricultural support policy was to increase production or maintain it at a certain level. Consequently, almost all policies were closely linked to production. Tariffs, export subsidies and other methods were used to support market prices, farmers were given direct payments for boosting production and governments subsidised items such as fertilisers.
  • Topic: International Relations, Agriculture, Development, Economics
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Flows of migrant workers are increasing. Almost three million long-term migrants enter OECD countries legally every year, and the numbers will continue to rise as host countries grapple with falling birth rates and ageing populations. Immigration offers clear benefits to advanced countries, with some sectors already lacking the labour and skills they need to meet demand. For migrants, attractions include a higher standard of living and better prospects for their children.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Development, Migration
  • Author: Felix Zimmermann, Denis Drechsler
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: With concern about how to finance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) widespread, recent donor pledges to raise aid volumes are welcome. However, aid alone will not suffice – bringing in new actors and sources of development finance will be essential. In many developing countries, this is already happening, creating new opportunities and challenges for their governments and donors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Helmut Reisen, Pierre Jacquet, Daniel Cohen
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Suppose a DAC donor earmarks $1 billion of taxpayers' money for official development assistance (ODA). The donor may use two instruments as an outright grant or in combination with a market loan to produce a concessional loan of $2 billion with a percentage grant element of 50 per cent. Many nowadays think the choice should be clear: provide grants only, leave loans to the market. The purpose of this Policy Brief is to qualify and inform this choice.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics, Third World
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Russian economy has been enjoying a period of robust growth, thanks largely to steadily rising terms of trade. The challenge confronting policy-makers is to facilitate Russia's transition into a period of self-sustaining, investment- and innovation-led growth. This will require a sound macroeconomic policy framework to manage the economy's adjustment to sustained high oil prices and a range of structural reforms aimed at creating better framework conditions for business.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia