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  • 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: 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: Felix Salditt, Peter Whiteford, Willem Adema
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China is currently in the process of developing the largest pension system in the world, and it is doing this at a time of unparalleled economic and demographic transition. The central government has followed a step-by-step approach to develop a system that can accommodate a rapidly aging society within a rapidly growing, but still largely underdeveloped economy. This paper analyses how far the process of creating a national old age insurance system had proceeded by the end of 2006. It provides a detailed description of this system and an assessment of to what degree it has so far achieved ?its primary goal of social security for more people?
  • Topic: Economics, Reform, Welfare, Pension
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Annabelle Mourougane
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: After the radical reforms undertaken in the 1980s, the NZ tax system has long been regarded as one of most efficient within the OECD, and is based on a comprehensive income approach. Looking forward, the country will require a tax regime that helps the economy to continue raising living standards, supports savings and investment and copes with emerging pressures such as increasing geographic mobility of labour and capital. In this context, it will be important to have in place a clear long-term direction for the tax system to guide reforms. There are at least two broad options that are worth considering: adapting the system within a comprehensive income approach or adopting a dual income tax system. Future changes to the tax system need to be consistent with the approach ultimately adopted. In any case, a number of limitations of current tax bases will need to be tackled.
  • Topic: Economics, Tax Systems, Collaborative Efficiency, Investment
  • Political Geography: New Zealand, Oceania
  • Author: Felix Hufner
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Average inflation in Sweden has been one of the lowest among European countries since the mid- 1990s. Three supply-side factors help to explain this phenomenon, all related in some sense to increased global integration. First, a shift towards imports from low-cost producing countries has resulted in falling import prices. Second, deregulation and increased product market competition with foreign companies entering the market has led to price falls in some sectors, notably in retailing. Third, wage growth has lagged productivity and kept unit labour costs down. This paper reviews these factors and analyzes the policy options for the central bank.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Monetary Policy, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden, Scandinavia
  • 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