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  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Globalisation has become a key force of change in all OECD countries. It is making our economies more open, bringing new opportunities, new markets and new wealth. But it also demands more rapid adjustment to change. The accomplishment of strategic restructuring is often required, so that workers are not displaced or excluded from the labour market and so that no localities are left to lag behind or decline. In the new economic environment, policy-makers must help build dynamic and flexible regions and cities. They must assist the transition from individual closed local economic systems to a new, open global system. To do this, it is important to “think globally and act locally”.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Government
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The new government has set itself the ambitious tasks of lowering unemployment, modernising the economy and the social system, and securing the long term viability of the budget and the health and pension systems. Ecological goals have been given equal prominence in order to ensure the environmental sustainability of economic development. In some fields there has been progress. However, the fiscal package needs to be fully implemented to put public finances on a sustainable path and to create a tax regime that is more business friendly. These policies should be underpinned by structural reforms that strengthen future growth prospects. Such policies can benefit both macroeconomic performance and future fiscal outcomes. While short-term growth prospects are already improving, unemployment remains a major problem. With respect to its strategy for reducing unemployment, the government is seeking to obtain consensus, inter-alia on an employmentfriendly wage policy, via round-table talks with the social partners. It is important that a consistent set of policy instruments emerge that establish clear links between policies and ultimate policy goals. For Germany to attain the employment, growth and environmental aims commensurate with its key position in the European economy, requires not only favourable macroeconomic conditions, including aggregate wage developments, but a policy emphasis which more effectively enhances labour-market flexibility, as well as structural reforms that strengthen individual initiative, economic choice and the role of competition. Since structural and macroeconomic policies tend to have synergies which make them mutually reinforcing, achieving a more flexible and dynamic use of resources will help to assure progress towards the country's social, budgetary, environmental and economic goals.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Icelandic economy has expanded rapidly over the past five years, bringing output to well above its potential. Clear signs of overheating have emerged, with unemployment below 2 per cent, inflation picking up and a large current external deficit. These developments are projected to continue, raising the risks of a wage-price spiral and financial instability. To guard against such risks, a significant tightening of monetary policy is required, with less priority attached to the exchange rate as a target for policy. This should be complemented by a medium-term fiscal discipline aiming at achieving a structural budget surplus. Such a course would help cope with long-term care spending that will rise with ageing. On the other hand, except for government employees, pensions should not constitute a burden for public finances, as, for the main, they will be provided by the private sector. To enhance future growth prospects, it will be important to maintain and extend the fishing quota regime in the face of legal threats and to increase competitive forces, especially in the telecommunications industry.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iceland
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union brought the region's serious environmental problems to the attention of the international community. Although the countries in this vast area of the world are remarkably diverse, central economic planning had created a common pattern of environmental problems. Notable among these problems were levels of industrial pollution that, in many places, threatened human health; widespread land and water degradation (particularly in the former Soviet Union); and the persistent neglect of nuclear safety and nuclear waste management.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Environment
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Soviet Union
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Never before have so many countries at such different levels of development been involved in so much activity aimed at progressively rolling back obstacles to freer trade and investment. Yet, paradoxically, at no time during the post-war period has the prospect of further liberalisation generated so much public anxiety, not least within those countries that built much of their prosperity on a liberal trade and investment order.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government, International Trade and Finance, Sovereignty
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The goal of a large number of criminal acts is to generate a profit for the individual or group that carries out the act. Money laundering is the processing of these criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal origin. This process is of critical importance, as it enables the criminal to enjoy these profits without jeopardising their source.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Twice a year, in June and December, the OECD publishes its Economic Outlook (EO), which contains projections for a number of key economic variables over a two to two and a half-year horizon.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: There is a considerable range in OECD national tax levels, as tax revenues as a percentage of GDP show. The tax bur- den in 1996 exceeded 45% of GDP in five countries, all in Europe – Den- mark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and France. In contrast, five countries had tax levels below 30%: Mexico, Korea, Turkey, Japan and the United States. Mexico's total tax revenues were nearly 22 percentage points below the OECD average of 37.7%.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe, Turkey, Korea, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Gross Domestic product: Volume series, seasonally adjusted except for Czech Republic and Portugal; Leading indicator: A composite indicator, based on other indicators of economic activity (employment, sales, income, etc.), which signals cyclical movements in industrial production from six to nine months in advance; Consumer price index: Measures changes in average retail prices of a fixed basket of goods and services; Current balance: $ billion; not seasonally adjusted except for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States; Unemployment rate: % of civilian labour force – standardised unemployment rate; national definitions for Czech Republic, Iceland, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey; seasonally adjusted apart from Turkey; Interest rate: Three months, except for Greece (twelve months) and Turkey (overnight interbank rate); .. not available Sources: Main Economic Indicators, OECD Publications, Paris, December 1998. For Hungary, PIB*: CSO and current balance*: Central Bank.
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Poland, Australia, Switzerland, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Health care spending In the United States public spending on health care came to 3.9% of GDP in 1980, and rose to 6.3% by 1995. Most countries saw some increase too, but a few countries saw their ratios fall, notably Sweden (8.7% to 7.1%) and Ireland (7.1% to 5.2%). The country with the highest ratio of public health care spending to GDP in 1995 was Germany, with 8.1%. US public spending on health care was about average for the 21 countries in the table, but the United States spends as much again on private healthcare. As a result US total spending on health care stood at 13.6% of GDP in 1995, significantly higher than any other OECD country.
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany, Sweden