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Between 2009 and 2013, public spending on health fell by EUR 5.2 billion – representing a 32% drop in real-terms. This reduction clearly represents a shock for the system to adsorb, even though it is clear that there were inefficiencies in the Greek system (for example, inappropriate prescribing, weak primary care, imbalances in the mix of health professionals).
This paper looks at recent trends in pharmaceutical spending across OECD countries. It examines the drivers of recent spending trends, highlighting differences across therapeutic classes, and then looks at emerging challenges for policy makers in the management of pharmaceutical spending.
“Mental health issues exact a high price on individuals, their families, employers and the economy,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, “Policymakers have been too slow to act. Strong political leadership is needed to drive reform and tackle this issue.”
Expenditure by disease data based on national health accounts can provide valuable information for use in policy analysis. In order to move further in this important area, it is necessary both to refine the definitions and approach that is followed, but also to demonstrate that such accounts can be developed in a cost-effective manner under the framework of the System of Health Accounts.
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OECD has released data on health spending by disease, age and gender - the first time that such consistent international estimates have been made available. These data are important because they can support policy makers in decisions about resource allocation. This policy brief presents the main findings using data from a group of 12 OECD countries over the period from 2003 to 2011.
This annual flagship publication provides details of taxes paid on wages in OECD countries. It covers: personal income taxes and employee contributions paid by employees, social security contributions and payroll taxes paid by employers, and cash benefits received by in-work families. It illustrates how these taxes and benefits are calculated in each member country and examines how they have an impact on household incomes. The results also enable quantitative cross-country comparisons of labour cost levels and the overall tax and benefit position of single persons and families on different levels of earnings.
The publication shows the amounts of taxes and social security contributions levied and cash benefits received for eight different family types, which vary by a combination of household composition and household type. It also presents: the resulting average and marginal tax rates (that is, the tax burden); the average tax rates (showing the part of gross wage earnings or total labour costs taken in tax and social security contributions, both before and after cash benefits); and the marginal tax rates (showing the part of a small increase of gross earnings or total labour costs that is paid in these levies).
Digitalisation, globalisation, demographic shifts and other changes in work organisation are constantly reshaping skill needs. This can lead to persistent skill shortages and mismatch which are costly for individuals, firms and society in terms of lost wages and lower productivity and growth. These costs can be reduced through better assessment and anticipation of changing skill needs and by improving the responsiveness of skills development to these changes.
This report identifies effective strategies for improving labour market information on skill needs and ensuring that this information is used effectively to develop the right skills. It provides a comparative assessment of practices across 29 countries in the following areas: i) the collection of information on existing and future skill needs; ii) the use of this information to guide skill development policies in the areas of labour, education and migration; and iii) governance arrangements to ensure good co-ordination among the key stakeholders in the collection and use of skill needs information.
Job displacement (involuntary job loss due to firm closure or downsizing) affects many workers over their lifetime. Displaced workers may face long periods of unemployment and, even when they find new jobs, tend to be paid less and have fewer benefits than in their prior jobs. Helping them get back into good jobs quickly should be a key goal of labour market policy. This report is the fourth in a series of reports looking at how this challenge is being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It shows that many displaced workers get new jobs relatively quickly in Australia, mostly thanks to a flexible and dynamic labour market. A small minority of displaced workers receive special support via the labour adjustment programmes, but some displaced workers who would need specific assistance, in particular in the older worker and/or low-educated groups, do not get sufficient support or only too late. There is room to improve policies by moving away from the current sectoral approach to special assistance programmes for workers collectively dismissed, towards an approach covering all sectors of the economy, with the intensity of intervention tailored to the circumstances and needs of the displaced workers. Expanding the training component for displaced workers and making use of skills assessment and training to better target the training and enhance its effectiveness would also help displaced workers transition to sustainable jobs of a certain quality.
Medical tourism is apparently growing rapidly and yet there is little data on the extent of the provision of health care services across borders. This OECD paper identifies the key emerging policy issues relating to the rise in this new market.
An elderly man with cardiovascular disease tests his own blood pressure, and sends the results to an online application that his doctor can access. Another patient with depression living in a rural area far from health services tells a psychiatrist how he is feeling via a video connection. All of this occurs without the patients leaving their homes.