Small firms are bigger than you think
In September last year, Universum Global published a list of the world’s 50 most attractive employers in business and engineering, based on a survey of 200,000 students. Well-known multinationals top the list. With employment high on the agenda of governments everywhere, OECD looked at which firms were the ones creating those jobs to see what lessons we could learn from the successes and failures. The full results are in a report we’ve just published, The Dynamics of Employment Growth: New Evidence from 18 Countries, but one of the most interesting trends to emerge is that young SMEs (firms no more than five years old) have been the most dynamic job creators over most of the past decade and across the 18 countries we analysed. These firms only represent on average 17% of employment, but they contribute more than twice as much to job creation (42% of the total). Read more
Managing our natural resources: can we build more with less?
Materials used in construction like sand and gravel account for the largest share (36%) of OECD materials consumption in weight. You won’t be surprised that fossil energy carriers such as oil, coal and natural gas are next at 26%; while biomass for food and feed (20%), metals and metal ores (11%), wood (3%) , and industrial minerals (2%) make up the balance. Unfortunately for the planet’s balancing act, the more of these materials we consume, the more environmental pollution we cause. We see that extraction, production and processing, use and final disposal can cause problems such as water and air pollution from mining operations, carbon emissions from material transport and processing, and pollution from product use, landfill and incinerators for final disposal. Globally, the extraction of material resources continues to grow, closely following economic growth, but I’m glad to say we are seeing some signs of “decoupling” between the two. In OECD countries, the growth of material extraction and use is slowing down while GDP continues to grow. Read more
Air pollution, the invisible killer
Air pollution has become the biggest environmental cause of premature death, overtaking poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water. According to the WHO, more than 3.5 million people are being killed each year by the air that they breathe in urban areas, and the number is rising. Air pollution now kills twice as many people as HIV/AIDS. That’s the stark message from the latest OECD report, The Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport. Read more
New evidence on Africa’s integration into global value chains
This year’s African Economic Outlook shows that Africa’s integration into global value chains (GVCs) is greater than one might have expected—in fact, Africa is the world’s third most GVC-integrated region, ahead of North America and South East Asia.This is calculated by looking at value added—the difference in price between the goods or services an industry produces and the sum of the intermediate inputs of goods and services it needs to produce its own product (intermediate inputs used by a car manufacturer for instance could include steel, software, or seats). Read more
Is there more to life than football? “Transformar o Jogo Bonito em Vida Bonita”
In a phrase that has become immortal in football mythology, one of the greatest managers in the history of “O Jogo Bonito” (the beautiful game as Brazilians call it), a Scotsman named Bill Shankly of Liverpool FC, encapsulated its importance for football obsessives the world over: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death… I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” The question of what makes life worth living, how best to balance competing interests, capacities and objectives is one that governments are trying to answer all the time. Therefore it is important to give citizens, voters and taxpayers the information and the voice to empower them to communicate to policymakers and shapers all over the world, their opinion about what counts for them. To do so, we are launching O Indice para Uma Vida Melhor, the Portuguese version of the OECD’s Better Life Index on 9 June with football legend Pelé, Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and our partners for O Indice the Fundacao Getulio Vargas. Read more
Navigating OECD’s work on education with GPS
We use GPS as a navigation device all the time, in our cars, our phones and on our computers. Now you can also navigate the world of education through the OECD’s Education GPS. This free online resource connects you to the satellites of OECD’s available data, research and analysis information and provides a mapping tool with real-time evidence to help guide policy-makers in the most efficient way as they plan their reforms. Visualisations and tables provide an interactive experience generating an understanding of education policies and key findings. Read more
Time to terminate termination charges?
It used to cost well over $2 a minute to call between OECD countries. The breakup of telecoms monopolies and the introduction of competition means callers now pay as little as $0.01 per minute, or may even have unlimited calls as part of a monthly bundle. Outside the OECD countries, the price has been dropping too, accompanied by a huge increase in traffic. But not everybody has benefited. Despite a massive increase in the number of telephones in Africa, international calls to that continent from the United States remained stagnant during this same period. A new OECD report International Traffic Termination looks at one aspect of why some consumers are losing out: the termination charges imposed on calls coming into a country. The report finds empirical evidence that imposing mandatory higher charges for the completion (termination) of international inbound traffic suppresses demand. Moreover, governments that impose higher termination charges do not see their revenues increase proportionately. Read more
Tourism's changing profile
Tourism has shown remarkable staying power in recent years. Despite political instability, wars, natural disasters and a global financial crisis, the industry keeps getting up for another round. Japan is good example. After the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima nuclear accident, the number of visitors to the country plunged. But in 2013 more than 9 million tourists visited the country, a record high. Read Observer article
How are you, really?
The shortfalls of GDP that were already apparent before the crisis but made starker during it have led to a panoply of new initiatives to find metrics that can measure wellbeing rather than just economic growth. But while GDP has stood accused of overlooking the environment and human well-being, it has one advantage which policymakers and analysts appreciate: the methods are objective and clear. Whether measuring output or expenditure in an economy, GDP produces a single number that is easy to adjust and compare. Read Observer article