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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 International Organization Remove constraint Topic: International Organization
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  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: With a surface area of 1.22 million km2 and a population of 46.9 million, South Africa is one of the largest countries on the African continent. It is also the largest African economy, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 3 530, more than four times the African average.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Competition policy plays a key role in promoting consumer welfare and market opening. Lack of competition is a main reason for the high prices of many products and services on the Swiss market. Traditionally, Swiss competition policy has been relatively lenient and low profile, allowing a relatively uncompetitive internal market to remain unchallenged. The impact of competition policy on economic development has therefore been at best neutral. As the slow rate of growth becomes an issue, however, a more vigorous approach to competition has been identified as an important factor for improving growth prospects. The 2003 reform of the Cartel Act strengthened Swiss competition law, in particular by introducing direct sanctions for the most serious infringements and a leniency programme, thus bringing it closer to that of the European Union and of many other OECD countries. The Swiss Competition Commission has been given considerable new powers to combat private restraints of competition. Comco will have to enforce the new laws resolutely and step up action to promote regulatory reforms. In doing so, it is burdened by institutional arrangements and mechanisms that temper its full independence. The Swiss competition enforcers do not benefit from the networks of exchanges available to national competition authorities in EU member States. Matters are further complicated by a relative lack of resources. Strengthening competition is a key for an effective internal market. The amendments to strengthen the Cartel Law and pending reform proposals signal determination on the part of the Confederation to tackle the problems. It is too early to say how effective they will be and the extent to which they will encourage a change in general attitudes, notably among the sub federal levels of government.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Law
  • Political Geography: Switzerland
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Growth performance has been among the best in the OECD, underpinned by a strong innovation performance and high educational attainment. The unemployment rate, currently at 8%, has dropped below the euro area average, employment rates, particularly among the old workers, have been increasing rapidly, inflation is among the lowest in the OECD and the government surplus sizeable.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Finland
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Portugal's economic performance has deteriorated markedly since 2000, with the slowdown turning out to be more severe and prolonged than in most other OECD countries. This lack of resilience reveals structural weaknesses. Meanwhile, with low growth and weak control of public expenditure, the fiscal deficit has remained at unsustainably high levels, reaching close to 6% of GDP in 2005. Despite the existence of a large output gap, the high fiscal deficit leaves no room to stimulate demand. The government has embarked on a strategy that aims at consolidating public finances and enhancing growth and it is important to strengthen these efforts. Without more wage restraint and higher productivity growth, there is a clear risk that Portugal's competitiveness continues to deteriorate and the income gap vis-à-vis the OECD average widens further.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Portugal
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: For many cities in OECD countries, globalisation has opened access to new markets, skilled human resources and advanced technology, while accelerating international competition and industrial restructuring. Seoul – a city of 10.3 million people at the core of a capital region of 22.5 million people, one of the world's most populous metropolitan regions – is striving to upgrade its position from that of a national mega-capital to become a “world city” and a leading business hub in Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Korea, Northeast Asia, Seoul
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Fears that “globalisation” implies increasing job losses and lower wages are an important source of popular ambivalence towards the increasingly open character of OECD economies. Although such concerns are not new, recent developments appear to have heightened workers' apprehensions that rising trade competition threatens their jobs, wages and employment conditions, particularly in the higher-wage OECD countries. Increased international sourcing of production activities – including the “offshoring” of some white-collar jobs in information technology (IT) and business services – has led some commentators to conclude that a large share of high-wage OECD workers will soon be in direct competition with workers in countries where wages are far lower. EU enlargement and the increasing integration of large, labour-surplus economies such as India and China into the world trading system also reinforce anxieties about “delocalisation” and “a race to the bottom”.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Stockholm is one of the most successful metropolitan regions in the OECD. Throughout the 1990s, the region experienced consistent and impressive growth, drawing on its role as the national capital, its research and development strengths, concentration of advanced business, logistical and financial services, and specialisation in high growth, high-tech sectors, notably ICT. Stockholm also stands out for its high quality of life, as is evident in its strong public health performance, high educational attainment and low poverty levels. In terms of these and other socio-economic indicators, Stockholm ranks among the best in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Road accidents are the number one killer of children in OECD countries. An estimated 100,000 children have died on the roads in the past 20 years – almost 100 per week on average. Of course, this level of fatalities is not acceptable. Road transport safety, particularly for children, should be a priority for all governments.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The economic downturn in the Netherlands, like the boom that preceded it, has been more marked than in most other European countries. This is partly attributable to greater exposure to international trade, especially with the US, and to greater sensitivity to international stock price movements. But there are also some structural policies – pension fund regulation, housing and wage setting institutions – that have undermined economic efficiency and contributed to the amplitude of the cycle. Furthermore there has been a marked deterioration in public finances, part of which is structural. Longer term growth trends too are unfavourable. In view of these developments, the main challenges are to reform those policies that have reduced efficiency and increased volatility, put public finances on a sustainable path, and, most importantly, increase trend growth by increasing both employment and productivity.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • Author: Jude Fransman, Henri-Bernard Solignac Lecomte
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Citizens in OECD countries quite unambiguously support more solidarity and justice at the international level; however, despite the adoption of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) by their governments in 2000, they remain insufficiently informed and educated about global development challenges. With increased understanding of the issues, citizens could provide greater support for more efficient and coherent development policies as well as for more funding. This requires new efforts by national authorities to report on desirable outcomes and on the results and effectiveness of international development policies towards achieving them.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Security in all its dimensions is fundamental to reducing poverty, protecting human rights and achieving the Millennium DevelopmentGoals (MDGs). Security concerns not only the stability of the state and the security of regimes. It also involves the safety, well-being and freedom from fear of a nation and its people.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Economic performance over the past two decades has been impressive. Underpinned by an increased reliance on competitive forces, which have been stronger than in most other member countries for some time, productivity and output have accelerated significantly. In recent years, helped by timely macroeconomic policy responses, the economy has demonstrated its capacity to adjust to adverse shocks, so that the per capita growth gap against other countries has widened further. The outlook is for this to continue in the next few years, with real GDP expanding by around 4 per cent per annum. Nonetheless, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed to sustain these laudable economic outcomes. By far the top priority is to confront the current and projected federal budget deficits. The fiscal stimulus of the past few years has been helpful in supporting the recovery, but if public dissaving is not reduced, interest rates may be higher, ultimately implying slower growth in economic potential. Increased budget discipline, and indeed significant reform on both the spending and revenue sides of the budget, will be necessary because of the impending demographic pressures on government finances. Corrective fiscal measures will also assist the unwinding of the current account deficit, which is unusually large for this stage of the cycle. As the Federal Reserve begins to move the federal funds rate back to a more neutral level, it will need to be especially attentive to the clarity of its communications with the markets. Further corporate-governance and accounting reforms would help to underpin confidence of domestic and foreign investors, thereby facilitating orderly current-account adjustment. Less reliance on import restrictions and maintaining a leadership role in trade liberalisation would favour structural adjustment at home. Furthermore, despite the generally pro-competitive thrust of antitrust and other regulatory policies, a number of areas deserve attention, notably intellectual property rights, telecommunications and electricity, where further reforms would be welfare enhancing.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Helmut Reisen
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set clear targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women by 2015.The need for additional development funding, if the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, is widely recognized. The figure of additional $50 billion per year, roughly the present total of ODA spent by DAC donors, is often quoted (e.g. Zedillo Report). This estimate is of back-of-the-envelope nature, and it seems to be the minimum estimate. If governments exclude the option to abandon the MDGs, they have either to double the existing ODA or to find alternative sources of comparable magnitude–or a balance of the two. The challenge to the international community is mounting by the day.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: OECD countries are working hard to tackle the environmental problems they face, but much more ambitious policies will be needed if their national and international commitments are to be met. Progress has been made in a number of areas since OECD ministers agreed in 2001 on an Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century. For example, air pollution regulations have been tightened, new market-based policies to mitigate climate change at least cost are in place or planned, regulatory frameworks are being strengthened to protect the environment and human health from chemicals, and a number of key international agreements to protect the marine environment and ensure sustainable fishing have recently entered into force, thanks in part to their ratification by some OECD countries. But current policies are insufficient to adequately protect biodiversity resources, or to address climate change. Economic growth no longer leads automatically to an equal increase in pressure on the environment in some key sectors, indicating at least some “decoupling” of environmental pressures from economic growth, but the environmental impact of continuing road transport expansion, energy production, and agricultural practices remains high.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Water is a vital resource for society but needs to be managed carefully to ensure that people have access to affordable and safe drinking water and sanitation, without depleting water resources or damaging ecosystems. The OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century, adopted by OECD ministers in 2001, highlights water management as one of the key issues in maintaining the integrity of ecosystems.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The short-term outlook for Norway is good. Helped by global recovery, growth could proceed at above potential rates for a while, especially as inflation is well below target and there is some cyclical slack in the labour market. Interest rates are low, and fiscal stimulus needs to be withdrawn. Indeed, it will be important to rein back spending over the next few years in order to get back onto the self-imposed track of permissible spending of oil revenues that is consistent with notions of intergenerational fairness. In the longer term, the case for continuing fiscal restraint is even stronger. Reflecting both demographic factors and the maturing of the system, public spending on pensions will rise considerably over the next decades, even if the major reforms now under discussion are quickly implemented. In the future, growth of living standards will have to rely primarily on increases of productivity and employment in the non-oil private business sector. To maintain vigour in the non-oil economy, reforms in both labour and product markets, and in social policies and transfer programmes are called for. There are important interdependencies among policies in these areas and it is unlikely that success will be achieved without advancing with comprehensive reforms. More flexibility is desirable in wage setting, particularly in the public sector. Proposed changes in the fields of education and training will raise skill levels, but value for money needs to be an important criterion when prioritising the programmes. Competition should be strengthened through regulatory reform and a more active policy stance: proposed amendments to strengthen the enforcement framework are an opportunity to make competition policy more central, and should include an independent appellate body. State ownership and subsidies to agriculture should be reduced. Norway's comprehensive social programmes ensure that poverty is virtually non-existent, and a strong work ethic and a high level of social trust led to comparatively little abuse in the past. However, the very rapid rises in numbers on disability pensions and on sick leave suggest that stricter controls are needed. Advancing the reform efforts suggested above will be necessary to harness the more efficient use of resources, thereby raising non-oil potential output and ensuring that Norway maintains a high standard of living in the years to come.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Norway
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Most OECD countries have been actively reforming their public sectors for two decades. Initially the problem seemed to be a relatively straightforward one of improving efficiency, reforming management practices, and divesting public involvement in commercial enterprises. These reforms have indeed had a major impact but they have also given rise to some unexpected problems of their own. Even a seemingly straightforward action such as simplifying a welfare benefit form and cutting the time taken to process it may, for example, encourage more people to apply for the benefit, increasing the workload and making it more difficult to cut waiting time. While more efficient government is certainly desirable, efficiency alone is not a guarantee of better government.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The quality of the teaching workforce is a major consideration in any nation's aspirations for an educational system of high quality. Teachers form the core of the school system and a wide range of research studies has confirmed the importance of teacher quality for student learning. Thus, the development of policies seeking to improve the quality of teachers and ensure that all students receive quality teaching is a central concern for governments.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: To succeed in a rapidly changing world, individuals need to advance their knowledge and skills throughout their lives. Education systems need to lay strong foundations for this, by fostering knowledge and skills and strengthening the capacity and motivation of young adults to continue learning beyond school.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, International Organization, Political Economy