Key policy responses from the OECD

Building confidence amid an uncertain recovery

OECD Economic Outlook, Interim Report September 2020

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22/10/2020
The outlook for tourism economy recovery remains highly uncertain, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to heavily hit the sector.The outcome for 2020 is expected to be a decrease in international tourism economy by around 80% (downside of previous estimates), with domestictourism driving the short term recovery. Governments have taken impressive immediate action to restore and re-activate the sector, whileprotecting jobs and businesses. Considering the longer term implications of the crisis, countries are also developing measures to build a more resilienttourism economy in the post COVID-19 environment. These include staying ahead of the digital curve, supporting the low carbon transition, andrethinking tourism for the future.
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19/10/2020
Both the experience from previous economic crises and first indications on labour market and social outcomes during the current pandemic suggest that the COVID‑19 crisis is likely to have a disproportionate impact on immigrants and their children. This policy brief provides first evidence on how the pandemic has affected immigrants and their children in terms of health, jobs, education, language training and other integration measures, and public opinion, and describes host countries’ policy responses. It complements a previous brief on the impact of the pandemic on migration management.
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15/10/2020
The dramatic drop in demand for passenger air transport (and freight, to a lesser extent) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures is threatening the viability of many firms in both the air transport sector and the rest of the aviation industry, with many jobs at stake. While the aviation industry has often been a target of government policies, the COVID-19 crisis has precipitated a new suite of loans, loan guarantees, wage subsidies and equity injections, raising concerns about competition and the efficient use of public resources. To promote a sustainable trajectory for the aviation industry, government policies should prioritise sector-wide measures and competition.
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13/10/2020
The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on public health in the six EU Eastern Partner (EaP) countries remains limited with 187 reported fatalities in the region as of 14 April. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia (because of their proximity to Iran) saw the region’s first cases of Covid-19 in late February. Swift containment measures and limited intra-regional mobility have so far helped limit the spread of the virus, and the number of recorded cases remains relatively low in the South Caucasus.
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12/10/2020
The current context of the COVID-19 pandemic makes the need for a solution [to the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy] even more compelling than when it was first considered. Governments have responded through increased spending on healthcare and by providing unprecedented levels of financial support to both businesses and workers to cushion them from the economic blow of this crisis. However, the time will come when governments will need to focus on putting their finances back on a fair and sustainable footing.
09/10/2020
Recovery from the social and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will require concerted policy action. As countries consider recovery packages, there are opportunities to prioritise green policy choices that help promote environmental objectives and speed up structural change towards the low-carbon transition, increasing society’s resilience to future shocks and reducing future risks. This policy brief focuses on practical ways in which countries can use green budgeting and tax policy tools to implement stimulus packages that support a green recovery, and the inter-linked role of both tax and spend measures in aligning stimulus programmes with decarbonisation objectives.
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07/10/2020
This brief discusses how the COVID-19 crisis is accelerating an expansion of e-commerce towards new firms, customers and types of products, likely involving a long-term shift of e-commerce transactions from luxury goods and services to everyday necessities. It also highlights how policy makers can leverage the potential of digital transformation in retail and related areas to support business adaptation and to enhance social distancing, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
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30/09/2020
This brief discusses the different approaches by governments during the pandemic to using regulatory management tools, including regulatory impact assessments, stakeholder engagement and ex post evaluation, and how they have ensured robust regulatory oversight when regulating through emergency procedures in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It also examines the long-term challenges for regulatory policy as we emerge from the crisis, with a clear need to improve resilience.
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29/09/2020
The double blow of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the oil price shock is hitting oil-exporting developing countries particularly hard, at a time when the fossil fuel industry is facing a process of structural decline. Although some countries might weather the current crisis on the back of sovereign wealth funds or relatively low public debt levels, this will not be the case for the majority of fragile oil-exporting countries, many of which are resource dependent and were already grappling with high levels of debt and multifaceted economic and social fragility before the present crisis. Oil-exporting developing countries have experienced an increased reliance on short-term and expensive non-concessional private borrowing in recent years, a significant proportion of which is backed by oil collateral. Some countries may find themselves entering a spiral of unsustainable borrowing on the back of the current turmoil. A timely and coherent response is needed, encompassing both concessional lenders and private financiers, to create fiscal space, reduce the risks of unsustainable debt, corruption and illicit financial flows, and catalyse a transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future
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28/09/2020
This Policy Brief focuses on the vital role of biodiversity for human life and the importance of integrating biodiversity considerations into the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The Brief first outlines how biodiversity loss is a key driver of emerging infectious diseases and poses a variety of other growing risks to businesses, society and the global economy. Investing in the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity can help to address these risks, while providing jobs, business opportunities and other benefits to society. The Brief then examines how governments are factoring biodiversity into their stimulus measures and recovery plans in practice, highlighting both concerning trends and best practices. The Brief concludes with policy recommendations on how governments can better integrate biodiversity into their COVID-19 stimulus measures and broader recovery efforts.
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25/09/2020
As the pandemic hit, governments asked legislatures to set aside or modify established budget practices and adopt solutions to expedite emergency responses. At the same time COVID-19 presented serious operational challenges for legislatures. They responded with creative solutions for swift action while maintaining effective oversight and accountability. Legislatures in most OECD countries were also supported with information and analysis from independent parliamentary budget offices and fiscal councils
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24/09/2020
The COVID-19 crisis has forced education systems worldwide to find alternatives to face-to-face instruction. As a result, online teaching and learning have been used by teachers and students on an unprecedented scale. Since lockdowns – either massive or localised - may be needed again in the future to respond to new waves of the infection until a vaccine becomes available, it is of utmost importance for governments to identify which policies can maximise the effectiveness of online learning. This policy brief examines the role of students’ attitudes towards learning in maximising the potential of online schooling when regular face-to-face instruction cannot take place. Since parents and teachers play a fundamental role in supporting students to develop these crucial attitudes, particularly in the current situation, targeted policy interventions should be designed with the aim of reducing the burden on parents and help teachers and schools make the most of digital learning.
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22/09/2020
This policy brief focuses on how to ensure that a gender lens is well-integrated through response, recovery, and prevention efforts to COVID-19 in development co-operation. In the context of COVID-19, how can OECD countries and other development providers improve the quality of their policies and practices for gender equality, as well as raise investments in gender equality in key sectors? Development partners will need to identify challenges and areas of risk brought about by the pandemic, as well as integrate concerns for gender equality into decision making around issues ranging from economic stimulus packages to redoubling financing and improving policies and practices across a range of sectors. This approach also implies ensuring women’s representation in leadership and decision making at every level when responding to the COVID-19 crisis. This policy brief provides some arguments for why a gender-responsive recovery to COVID-19 is essential for sustainable and inclusive growth, and initial guidance for making improvements in the area of gender equality and development.
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21/09/2020
The COVID‑19 pandemic has posed two major risks to platform workers – exposure to the virus and income loss – compounded by the generally lower levels of access among platform workers to benefits compared with individuals in standard employment. This note examines the measures taken by platform companies to protect the health and the incomes of workers using their platforms during the pandemic, and captures the views of the platform workers regarding the adequacy of these measures.
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21/09/2020
Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, there were concerns that the health crisis would develop into a large-scale food crisis similar to the 2007-08 food price crisis, when panic buying and counterproductive policies exacerbated initial supply disruptions. While food supply chains have seen disruptions, and there are future risks that require attention, a food price crisis has been avoided so far, in part thanks to improved transparency in global staple crop markets. Transparency on market conditions and policies is critical in helping reduce market uncertainty, exposing bottlenecks and highlighting risks, all of which help market participants and policy makers develop more effective responses in times of crisis. More broadly, transparency is essential for global markets to work and provide a resilient supply of affordable food. Yet, transparency is not automatic: it requires investments in gathering comparable information, monitoring market and policy developments, and communicating clearly about the findings. This note discusses the importance of transparency, and the investments it requires, using the example of the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS), a G20 initiative created in response to the 2007-08 food price crisis. While AMIS focuses on major staple crops (wheat, maize, rice and soybeans), experience with AMIS can provide insights for the wider agriculture and food sector.
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16/09/2020
This brief analyses how countries can achieve more effective, timely and sustainable responses to the COVID-19 crisis by taking into account regulatory barriers and compliance issues. Drawing upon previous work on administrative barriers and procedures as well as regulatory enforcement and inspections, the brief identifies several key regulatory aspects of the COVID-19 crisis response. These include: 1) facilitating the supply and availability of essential goods for crisis response, 2) reconciling privacy concerns with effectiveness for tracing and/or “track-and-trace” approaches, and 3) fostering and maintaining compliance with mitigation measures through targeted, proportionate enforcement and transparent communication. This brief discusses simplification and removal of disproportionate or non-risk-based barriers, as well as the importance of ensuring effective regulation of major risks, and achieving sustained compliance with key safety measures.
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14/09/2020
This Policy Brief focuses on how countries can create opportunities for a green and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A green recovery will significantly enhance the resilience of economies and societies in the face of both the severe recession and accelerating environmental challenges. The Brief also undertakes a preliminary review of announced recovery and stimulus policies in OECD and Key Partner countries. While many countries are focusing on measures that can drive sustainability while boosting jobs, income and growth, a number of countries are proposing measures that support environmentally damaging activities. Measuring and evaluating the environmental impacts of recovery policies over time is crucial, and a set of indicators, covering a broad array of critical environmental dimensions, is proposed for this purpose.
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09/09/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to limit the spread of the disease have significantly disrupted economic activity in countries around the world, resulting in significant business interruption losses. The vast majority of these losses are likely to be absorbed by policyholders as, unless governments (or courts) intervene, few companies have business interruption coverage that is likely to respond to these types of losses–exposing the existence of an important protection gap for some pandemic-related business interruption losses. This note provides an overview of how business interruption insurance against pandemic risk could be provided with support from governments, and some of the challenges and considerations necessary for establishing such a programme.
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09/09/2020
This policy brief focuses on the immediate and medium term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for justice systems and their users, and proposes steps that can be taken during this period to ensure access to justice for all. It draws nine key lessons from the crisis for justice systems to develop stronger people-centred practices and contribute to an inclusive economic recovery. Its associated Compendium of Country Practices gathers good practice examples from across the globe to support justice systems in maintaining service provisions even during lockdowns, protecting the most vulnerable and undertaking remarkable innovations as a result of the crisis.
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07/09/2020
The ongoing health and economic crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the required physical distancing measures force many firms to introduce telework (working from home) on a large scale. This may catalyse wider adoption of teleworking practices also after the crisis, with a wide range of impacts and uncertain net effects on productivity and other indicators. Public policies and co-operation among social partners are crucial to ensure that new, efficient and welfare-improving working methods emerging during the crisis are maintained and developed once physical distancing is over. To maximise the gains for productivity and welfare inherent in the use of more widespread telework, governments should promote investments in the physical and managerial capacity of firms and workers to telework and address potential concerns for worker well-being and longer-term innovation related in particular to the excessive downscaling of workspaces.
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