OECD Newsletter on Health, Employment, Migration and Social Affairs


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OECD High-level Forum on Mental health and Work

High-Level Policy Forum on Mental Health and Work: Bridging Employment and Health Policies, 4 March, The Hague, Netherlands

Across the OECD, mental ill-health costs roughly 3.5% of GDP, in lost productivity at work, benefit payments and health care expenditure. It creates significant costs for people, employers and the economy at large and is increasingly acknowledged as a major issue for social and labour market policies.

OECD’s 4-year Mental Health and Work project concludes that a huge leap could be made in terms of both better recovery and higher labour force participation if health and employment policies would be delivered in a joined-up way. Today this is rarely the case with health and employment policy often operating in isolation.

Hosted by the Dutch Government, the forum provided a unique opportunity for an exchange between Employment and Health Ministers to share experiences with developing integrated approaches and to push forward a strong policy agenda.

– High-Level Policy Forum on Mental Health and Work
– The OECD Mental Health and Work Project
– Just released: Mental Health and Work: Netherlands


Does income inequality hurt economic growth?

Widespread increases in income inequality have raised concerns about their potential impact on our societies and economies. New OECD research shows that when income inequality rises, economic growth falls. One reason is that poorer members of society are less able to invest in their education. Tackling inequality can make our societies fairer and our economies stronger.

– Income Inequality and Poverty
– Focus on Inequality and Growth
– Trends in income inequality and its impact on economic growth, Working paper N° 163, by Federico Cingano

Equal pay for equal work

To mark the centenary of the First World War, the OECD insights blog is publishing a series of articles looking at what has changed over the last century in a number of domains.

OECD's Monika Queisser looks at how pay for women has changed over the last 100 years.

“Imagine a world where women are the ones repairing cars, driving buses, building roads and houses, mining coal, fighting fires and ploughing fields, with men nowhere to be seen. It sounds like Utopia, dystopia or highly unlikely, depending on your point of view. Even if girls often do better in school than boys there is still a clear-cut gender divide in the fields of study young people chose and in the areas of work they pursue. Boys are more likely to go for science, engineering and maths while girls probably pick health and the humanities.”

– Monika Queisser’s blog post - Equal pay for equal work
– OECD work on gender


High-Level Policy Forum on Migration 1-2 December, Paris

Under the theme Mobilizing Migrants’ Skills for Economic Success, Ministers and other high-level representatives met to discuss the emerging policy challenges for migration management and migrants’ economic and social integration. They also looked at how best to build public confidence on migration issues.

The meeting was particularly timely, since in many countries, migration policies are at a crossroads as they have to face emerging skill needs and the effects of population ageing. 

While maintaining the integrity of the migration system, countries must improve the labour market outcomes of immigrants and their children through a better selection, development and use of their skills.

– High-Level Policy Forum on Migration
– International Migration Outlook 2014

Recruiting Immigrant Workers

Recruiting Immigrant Workers

We have recently released country studies for Norway and Austria in the Recruiting Immigrant Workers series. These publications analyse whether a country is effectively and efficiently using migration policy to help meet its labour needs, without adverse effects on national labour markets.

Austria has low levels of labour migration from non-EU/EFTA countries. At the same time, intra-EU free mobility has grown significantly and since 2011, overall migration for employment is above the OECD average. It recently reformed its labour migration system, making it more ready to accept labour migrants where they are needed, especially in medium-skilled occupations in which there were limited admission possibilities previously.

Norway is second only to Switzerland in terms of inflows of labour migrants as a share of population. Most migrants come from the European Union, with free movement accounting for about 40 000 in 2012, compared with fewer than 5 000 non-European workers admitted. We find that that Norway is less affected by concern over the global competition for talent, over imminent skills shortages or over the dramatic population ageing faced by many other OECD countries such as the hGermany or Japan.

– Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Austria 2014
– OECD report on labour migration: the need to improve the RWR Card (in German)
– Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Norway


Health at a Glance Europe

Health at a Glance: Europe 2014

Today, Europeans enjoy a much longer life expectancy than the previous generation, but large inequalities in health remain across and within countries. These are largely due to disparities in access to and quality of care, as well as individual lifestyles and behaviours.

This third edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents a set of key indicators related to health status, determinants of health, health care resources and activities, quality of care, access to care, and health expenditure in all European Union member states, candidate countries and EFTA countries.

The publication includes a greater number of indicators on non-medical determinants of health and access to care. A new chapter presents indicators on access to care, such as on financial, geographic and timely access, following the economic crisis.

– Health at a Glance: Europe 2014
– Chart set in SlideShare

Health at a Glance Asia/Pacific

Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2014 Measuring progress towards Universal Health Coverage

Most countries in the Asia/Pacific region need to step up their efforts to give more people access to affordable, quality health care. Too many people, especially women, cannot get the medical treatment they need due to high costs, difficulties in getting permission to see a doctor or a lack of health care providers in rural areas.

This third edition of Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific presents a set of key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing and health care quality across 27 Asia/Pacific countries and economies.

– Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2014


OECD work on Dementia

With more people living longer into old age, the number of people living with dementia is set to increase drastically. As a result, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have become a top policy priority for OECD countries – and the focus of a series of G7 events throughout 2014.

The OECD has been centrally involved in leading the global discussion about how to tackle dementia. We have supported the G7 events and the work of the World Dementia Council.

But research and development will take some time, and meanwhile millions of people are living with dementia. Policy-makers can and should do more to improve the lives of people with dementia, and to support this we conducted a comprehensive policy review for the recent G7 dementia event in Japan, and have worked with the WHO to develop a framework for improving dementia policy.

The complexity of dementia means that we need to harness the power of “big data” and particularly of broad and deep data if we wish to improve on both care and cure. The OECD has conducted research on how this can be done, and held a workshop in Toronto that brought together researchers, industry and governments to discuss the challenges and opportunities.

The OECD’s vision for dementia policy will be set out in our upcoming publication, Addressing dementia: The OECD response, which will be launched on the 16/17 March at the First Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia, hosted by the WHO in Geneva and supported by the OECD and the UK Department of Health. Both days will be webcast over the internet: The proceedings of our event in Toronto, Dementia Research and Care: Can Big Data Help?, were published on 3 February.

– Dementia Research and Care: Can Big Data Help?
– OECD work on dementia
– First WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia


Back to work: Japan

Back to Work: Japan

Japan could help laid-off workers find a job more quickly by improving co-ordination between public employment services and companies, as well as ensuring that all workers benefit from adequate Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Job displacement (involuntary job loss due to firm closure or downsizing) affects many workers over the course of their working lives. 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 the jobs they held prior to displacement. Helping displaced workers get back into good jobs quickly should be a key goal of labour market policy.

This report is the second in a series of reports looking at how this challenge is being tackled in a number of OECD countries. 

– Back to Work: Japan
– Back to Work: The OECD review on displaced workers


Health working papers

Social, Employment and Migration working papers


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