Costa Rica


Productivity growth has been low. Strengthening the institutions, enhancing competition, promoting innovation and access to finance and transport infrastructure are all key. Such reforms need to go together with making Costa Rica a more inclusive society by improving the quality of education and reducing gender inequalities.  

  • Create a productivity council, on the basis of the already existing Council on Competitiveness and Innovation (CPCI).
  • Better enforce and implement intellectual property rights to promote business R&D spending.
  • Shift public R&D spending towards tertiary education and strengthen links with local innovative companies.
  • Improve the coordination of public programmes promoting innovation of local firms and linkages with foreign affiliates.
  • Eliminating anti-trust exemptions and empower the competition commission.
  • Reduce barriers to entrepreneurship, improve the corporate governance of state-owned enterprises and create a level-playing field between state-owned and private banks.
  • Enhance infrastructure by reducing the number of agencies involved in policy development and project execution. 

Productivity - Costa Rica

Source: OECD June 2016 Economic Outlook database; OECD, Income Distribution and Poverty database; and OECD Secretariat calculations from EU-SILC – preliminary results.


Key publications

OECD Economic Surveys: Costa Rica 2016. Chapter 2: Boosting Productivity to sustain income convergence.

Pisu M. and F. Villalobos (2016), "Costa Rica’s Infrastructure Challenge", forthcoming.

Monge-González,  R.;  Torres-Carballo,  F.  (2014):  Productividad  y Crecimiento  de  las  Empresas  en  Costa  Rica  ¿Es  posible  combatir  la  pobreza  y  la desigualdad  por  medio  de  mejoras  en  la  productividad?


‌‌Institutions icon Productivity-enhancing institutions 

In 2010, Costa Rica established the Presidential Council on Competitiveness and Innovation (CPCI), to co-ordinate policies across institutions. It is composed of three sub-councils – Council on Competitiveness, Council on Innovation and Human Talent, and Alliance for Employment and Development – with representatives from ministries and the private sector; and it has the support of a small technical unit.

Other efforts to improve the coordination and implementation of policies to boost productivity are also underway. These include a draft law to create an agency (Agencia Costarricense de Fomento Productivo, Innovación y Valor Agregado, FOMPRODUCE) with a public-private governance structure, which will centralise funds and functions currently dispersed across several agencies, to facilitate the establishment of businesses and promote innovation.






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