OECD countries have made significant reform progress in recent decades, in fields
as diverse as competition policy, health care and the environment. How have they done
it? And why have reforms advanced in some places and stalled in others? This collection
of essays analyses the reform experiences of the 30 OECD countries in nine major policy
domains in order to identify lessons, pitfalls and strategies that may help foster
policy reform in the future. While taking full account of the tremendous differences
in the political and institutional settings in which these reforms were undertaken,
the authors highlight a number of common challenges and potential solutions that hold
good across both countries and issue areas. They show that the scope for cross-national
policy learning is enormous.
The importance of such reform lessons is all the greater in the wake of the global
financial and economic crisis. As OECD governments confront the challenge of trying
to restore public finances to health without undermining the recovery, they will need
to pursue a careful mix of fiscal policies and growth-enhancing structural reforms.
Designing, adopting and implementing such a policy mix will require the crafting of
effective reforms and effective strategies for implementing them.