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  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A modest recovery is under way. A recovery has been under way since early 2004 and is expected to proceed at a moderate pace in 2005 and 2006, with domestic demand continuing to rise faster than GDP. Real growth is projected to remain somewhat slower than the EU average. The gap in consumer price inflation is expected to widen again in 2006. The current-account deficit has increased and export market share losses were substantial until recently. Employment growth has been impressive throughout the slowdown, but the growth of productivity, including that of total factor productivity, has been very weak.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: K. Fukasaku, M. Kawai, M.G. Plummer, A. Trzeciak-Duval
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The East Asian development experience needs to be better understood — especially the region's clustered, sequential development process and neighbourhood effects linking economies at different levels of industrial development. How have different policy vectors transmitted by OECD countries, notably in the areas of trade, investment and aid, contributed to the development of the region? To what extent have the impacts of OECD-country policies depended on the capacity of East Asian economies to respond through their own public policies?
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel, East Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: In the past two decades, new forms of public sector management, privatisation and new technologies have changed the way the public sector operates, but have also created a need for new ways of making both agencies and governments accountable for what they do. With an increasingly devolved public sector, ensuring conformity with government policy objectives, control of expenditure and monitoring of actual agency performance has become increasingly complex. At the same time, the changing relationship between government and the public sector has profoundly affected the traditional accountability of ministers to the legislature
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Reforming pensions is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. All OECD countries have to adjust to the ageing of their populations and re-balance retirement income provision to keep it adequate and ensure that the system is financially sustainable.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: All OECD governments attach importance to combating poverty and exclusion, and for good reason. Poverty and exclusion are evidence of a society that wastes human resources, opportunities and life-chances, both now and for the future. Failure to tackle the poverty and exclusion facing millions of families and their children is not only socially reprehensible, but will also weigh heavily on countries' capacity to sustain economic growth in years to come.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Spanish economy has enjoyed many years of brisk growth and has recovered swiftly from the recent international slowdown. Activity has been boosted by low interest rates and strong job creation, and underpinned by structural reforms and a sound fiscal policy. As a result, the income gap with the euro area steadily narrowed. However, tensions have arisen that could undermine the strong growth performance as inflation is relatively high, eroding competitiveness, while the surge in house prices does not yet show signs of abating. Also productivity gains have remained meagre and unemployment is still high.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Demand for long-term care for older people is set to rise steeply in OECD countries as the baby-boom generation reaches old age. But can they be sure of receiving quality care at a price they can afford? People in need of long term care increasingly demand high-quality care, and differences in the quality and availability of such services across OECD countries show some are not getting it. How can governments in OECD countries respond to the growing demand for these services? What do they need to do to improve access to long-term care, improve quality of services and make care affordable?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Are work and family life compatible? All too often parents find it impossible to balance employment and care commitments. As a result, it is becoming increasingly common to start a family later, have fewer children or have no children at all. Alternatively some parents may choose to temporarily or permanently stop working, despite the fact that they would like to have jobs, because of time constraints, no access to affordable childcare or difficulties in resuming their careers after childbirth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The dominant challenge for Belgium in the years to come is to prepare for population ageing. This entails putting in place policies to attenuate its effects on economic growth and public finances. The few years left before large numbers of baby boomers retire provide a window of opportunity to push ahead with such policies and so preserve the essential elements of the system of social protection. First, further budget consolidation is required to put public finances on a sustainable path. Second, reforms are needed to increase employment rates, especially for the older working age-population, school leavers and ethnic minorities, and to slow the decline in working time. Finally, reforms are required to raise productivity growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: This Survey's general assessment is that Brazil is currently reaping the benefits of macroeconomic consolidation, underpinned by a prudent policy stance. Much progress has been made in fiscal consolidation and monetary policy continues to be conducted in a forward- looking manner. The external adjustment has been remarkable, with continued strong export performance, making the economy more resilient to changes in market sentiment. These achievements owe much to the strengthening of institutions, in particular the inflation targeting framework and the Fiscal Responsibility legislation. The economic recovery is now firmly established. But the consolidation of macroeconomic stability remains essential moving forward, coupled with further structural reform, to ensure that the positive outlook ushers in a virtuous circle of improved confidence and resilient, equitable growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Governments are under increasing pressure to open up to public scrutiny, to be more accessible to the people who elected them and more responsive to their demands and needs. Indeed, an open government that meets all these requirements is increasingly recognised as an essential ingredient for de mocratic governance, social stability and economic development.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Government
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Denmark has been near the top of the OECD's income rankings for many years. It has the most equal income distribution among member countries, partly because of its comprehensive welfare state. Given an ageing population, the key economic challenge is to maintain growth in living standards while preserving the welfare system. To achieve this, Denmark will need to raise labour supply and productivity growth. If they do not improve from here, the growth rate of per capita GDP will be dragged down to just ½ per cent per annum within a couple of decades.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Iceland's impressive economic performance has continued to show the benefits of the refocusing of policies on financial stabilisation and market liberalisation in the 1990s. The most recent recovery, which began in 2003, has been much more vigorous than expected, as buoyant household demand has reinforced the stimulatory effect of the large-scale aluminium-related investment projects underway. Imbalances in the economy – specifically, the large current account deficit and inflation pressures – have mounted and – with GDP growth averaging over 5% in 2004-06 – they may well be similar in size to those seen in the last overheating episode in 2000-01, which resulted in a mild recession. Limiting instability over the next few years is a demanding task for macroeconomic policymakers, and efforts underway in this regard need to be strengthened. There are also challenges for structural policies, notably with respect to the proper assessment of future investment projects and in the environ-mental area. In a longer-term perspective, sustaining the faster productivity growth that structural reforms in the 1990s have brought about will require further action, especially in the education and competition policy fields.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Danmark har i mange år ligget nær toppen på OECD's rangliste over BNP pr. indbygger. Danmark har den mest lige indkomstfordeling blandt medlemslandene, delvist so m følge af dets vidtfavnende velfærdsstat. I lyset af befolkningsaldringen er den primære økonomiske udfordring at fastholde væksten i levestandarden og samtidig bevare velfærdssystemet. For at opnå dette er det nødvendigt at øge arbejdsudbuddet og væksten i produktiviteten. Uden forbedringer på disse to områder vil væksten i BNP pr. indbygger fa lde til blot ½ procent om året i løbet af et par årtier.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Recent and prospective performance is good. The Australian economy is still benefiting from the programme of widespread and deep reforms that started in the 1980s and was especially intensive in the 1990s. These made it easier to set macro policies in a stability-oriented medium-term framework. The combination resulted in a thirteen year long economic expansion accompanied by low inflation, high resilience to external and domestic shocks, and very healthy public finances. The short term outlook is for continuing brisk low- inflationary growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The strengthening of the economy has raised hopes that Japan is emerging from a decade of stagnation. Output has been increasing at a more than 2 per cent annual rate since 2002, reflecting strong external demand and the progress made in corporate restructuring and economic reform. However, Japan still faces a number of serious headwinds to sustained growth, notably entrenched deflation and continued declines in bank lending and land prices. Meanwhile, the government's financial position continues to deteriorate, raising concerns about fiscal sustainability at the same time that population ageing is increasing demands for public spending. Addressing these challenges requires a combination of well-designed macroeconomic policies and structural measures to boost the growth potential and ensure rising living standards in the face of rapid population ageing.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Official export credit agencies (ECAs) support exports, much of which support goes to emerging economies, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance and direct loans. In 2002, the amount of business covered by such support was approximately USD 50 billion. Typically, officially supported export credits are provided to enable recipient countries to fund major capital goods and projects exported by the home country of the ECA, such as roads, mining, railways or airports.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Following accession to the European Union the big issue for the Czech Republic is to strengthen growth prospects. Growth potential at present is somewhat above 3 per cent, implying a moderate pace of catch-up to living standards in the EU and elsewhere. There is room for greater ambition in growth performance, and it is welcome to see this reflected in the programme of the new Czech government. This Survey underscores four main challenges. Fiscal consolidation is the dominant challenge for macroeconomic policy, and is not only necessary to cope with ageing and to bring down the tax burden but is also needed to fulfil euro-area entry conditions. A welcome programme of fiscal reform has begun, including proposals for a system of multi-year aggregate spending ceilings and significant expenditure cuts. However, to date, mainly revenue-raising measures have been implemented while the full impact of expenditure measures is yet to be realised. The attempt to secure broad political consensus on pension reform is commendable, but it must be underscored that whatever reform is finally implemented, it will have to bring considerable fiscal savings. Health-care reform also has to deliver savings, but concrete proposals have yet to be made. To facilitate assessment of the true fiscal position, extra-budgetary funds need to be more fully integrated in mainstream government budgeting procedures. Also, with the further decentralisation of public services, the need for good budgeting practices and accountability in regional and municipal governments is all the more important. The Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have formulated a transparent strategy for entering the euro area, that foresees minimising the time spent in ERM II. Annual reports will assess the economic conditions in relation to the Maastricht Criteria and a request to enter ERM II will only being made if the probability of a positive first assessment by the EU authorities is high. The choice of a 3 per cent inflation target for the run-up to euro entry is justifiable on medium-term grounds. However there may be some difficulty communicating the consistency of this target with the Maastricht criterion for price stability. The Czech authorities should therefore pay close attention to how the Maastricht criteria are interpreted and applied by the European Commission and the ECB and adjust their communication strategy accordingly. Most of the catch-up in living standards will have to come from boosting productivity growth. This means swifter re-allocation of resources across firms as well as stronger in-firm productivity growth. While the Czech Republic is a strong competitor for attracting foreign direct investment, policy towards poorly performing firms and business start-ups has problems, slowing down the exit and entry of firms. Bankruptcy procedures are cumbersome, often long and usually end up in liquidation, with asset stripping not uncommon. Reforms have long-since been planned, and it is welcome that new legislation looks finally set to go ahead. The legislation aims at strengthening the role of creditors, speeding up proceedings and allowing composition to play a bigger role. Likewise, efforts to streamline business registration are welcome and should be implemented as soon as possible. The general business climate is also damaged by issues in network industry competition, as some services, notably internet, are expensive in international comparison. Mobility between jobs and regions is weak. Administrative extensions of collective wage agreements, strict employment protection legislation (EPL) on individual dismissals, rent control, severe poverty traps (particularly for families) and a high tax wedge have contributed to considerable long-term unemployment. The Roma population is hit especially hard in this respect. Migration is to some extent mitigating the labour-market rigidities with Slovaks filling skilled vacancies and other eastern Europeans (mainly Ukrainians) taking up unskilled jobs that are unattractive for locals. Tackling the unemployment problem requires measures across a wide front, but most notably social benefit reform is needed along with reduction in the tax wedge as well as easing of EPL. The widespread social and economic exclusion of the Roma needs more attention, particularly in the education system. A more open immigration policy is needed to address immediate issues such as the inconsistency between granting work permits as well as for better alignment of immigrants' skills with those needed on the Czech labour market.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Czech Republic
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: When the Russian Federation began its transition toward a market based economy, promoting competition and regulating anticompetitive behavior - issues never previously needing to be addressed - arose as new and unfamiliar subjects for state policymaking and law enforcement activities. In order to address these issues, the Russian Federation created a competition authority and basic law in 1991, quite early in its transition period. Support for competition was expressed in the 1993 Constitution, as well as in other fundamental legislation. As part of a larger study of regulatory reform, the OECD in 2003 undertook a detailed assessment of Russia fs decade of experience with competition law and policy. The Report concludes that despite early legislation on the issue and strong expressions of support for competition in the laws, the creation and protection of competition on domestic markets has not been a policy priority. Emphasis on rapid privatization limited the scope of pre-privatization restructuring to promote competition and the competition authority has been expected to serve as a general regulator of behavior in markets, assigned to fill legislative gaps and to enforce against a variety of undesirable practices in markets. Overly broad responsibilities and a lack of credible sanctions have significantly limited the impact of the competition laws.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Performance – improving it and measuring it – has pre-occupied governments for at least half a century. Over the past two decades, public sector performance has taken on special urgency as OECD countries have faced recessions, mounting demands for more and better public services, and, in some countries, citizens increasingly unwilling to pay higher taxes. Accompanying these pressures have been demands for more public accountability.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Government