Alcoholic beverages, and their harmful use, have been familiar fixtures in human societies since the beginning of recorded history. Worldwide, alcohol is a leading cause of ill health and premature mortality. It accounts for 1 in 17 deaths, and for a significant proportion of disabilities, especially in men. In OECD countries, alcohol consumption is about twice the world average. Its social costs are estimated in excess of 1% of GDP in high- and middle-income countries. When it is not the result of addiction, alcohol use is an individual choice, driven by social norms, with strong cultural connotations. This is reflected in unique patterns of social disparity in drinking, showing the well-to-do in some cases more prone to hazardous use of alcohol, and a polarisation of problem-drinking at the two ends of the social spectrum. Certain patterns of drinking have social impacts, which provide a strong economic rationale for governments to influence the use of alcohol through policies aimed at curbing harms, including those occurring to people other than drinkers. Some policy approaches are more effective and efficient than others, depending on their ability to trigger changes in social norms, and on how well they can target the groups that are most at risk. This book provides a detailed examination of trends and social disparities in alcohol consumption. It offers a wide-ranging assessment of the health, social and economic impacts of key policy options for tackling alcohol-related harms in three OECD countries (Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany), extracting relevant policy messages for a broader set of countries.
Harmful drinking is on the rise among young people and women in many OECD countries, partly due to alcohol becoming more available, more affordable and more effectively advertised, according to a new OECD report.
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In November 2014, the G20 Leaders committed to reduce the gender labour force participation gap by 25% by 2025, as a collective commitment at G20 level. As an input to that decision, the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers issued a Declaration which included this issue and set forth 11 policy areas for potential action. This note proposes options and approaches for tracking the Leaders’ commitment to reduce the gender gap.
English, PDF, 405kb
Three out of four OECD countries use minimum wages, and supporting low-wage earners is widely seen as important for promoting inclusive growth. This policy brief considers three aspects that are central for a balanced assessment of policy choices: The cost of employing minimum-wage workers, their take-home pay, and the number of workers affected.
The world is still repairing the damage done to employment prospects and social equality by the crisis. Governments are trying to create not just more jobs, but better jobs. A new OECD framework helps them to define what job quality means and to measure whether their policies are succeeding.
OECD insights blog: Francesca Colombo, Head of the OECD Health Division, discusses the issues related to health systems and an ageing population.
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Public employment services are increasingly important in government efforts to tackle unemployment and boost overall employment outcomes. To strengthen their contributions to this agenda, they require strong capacity and resources to activate job seekers, build connections with employers, and stimulate economic development.
The OECD launched a project on “Benchmarking ICTs in health systems”, a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the availability and quality of health ICT data through the development of a robust measurement framework and comparable cross-national measures. This task was accomplished in 2013 with the publication of an OECD “Guide to Measuring ICTs in the Health Sector”.
Taxes on wages have risen by about 1 percentage point for the average worker in OECD countries between 2010 and 2014 even though the majority of governments did not increase statutory income tax rates, according to a new OECD report.
People today are living longer than ever before, while birth rates are dropping in the majority of OECD countries. Such demographics raise the question: are current public social expenditures adequate and sustainable? Older workers play a crucial role in the labour market. Now that legal retirement ages are rising, fewer older workers are retiring early, but at the same time those older workers who have lost their job after the age of 50 have tended to remain in long term unemployment. What can countries do to help? How can they give older people better work incentives and opportunities? These reports offer analysis and assessment on what the best policies are for fostering employability, job mobility and labour demand at an older age.