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What policies to boost productivity?

The slowdown in productivity over the past decade has added to concerns about the long-term economic outlook, but the OECD’s latest work on The Future of Productivity identifies impediments to future growth and proposes policies to address them. The new OECD research shows that the gap between high productivity firms and the rest has been increasing over time, suggesting that there are barriers to the diffusion of new innovations.

Policy reforms to be considered are measures to revive the diffusion of innovation and to make better use of human talent. These include bankruptcy laws that don’t penalise failure, innovation policies that ensure a level playing field between incumbents and new entrants, encouraging public investment in basic research, housing market policies that facilitate residential mobility, the promotion of adult and lifelong learning, and employment protection legislation that does not impose too heavy or unpredictable costs on hiring and firing.


Policy Lessons from Financing Innovative Firms

There has been increasing global concern from policy makers over the lack of access to finance for young innovative firms. As a result, governments in many OECD countries have sought to address the financing gap and perceived market failures by supporting the seed and early stage market.

This paper seeks to summarise the lessons learned in seed and early stage finance based on OECD work focused on policies related to financing high growth firms, including angel investment and venture capital. Growth in seed and early stage financing policies highlights the role that financial development and other policies play in firm dynamics and job creation.


Identifying and inducing breakthrough inventions

Most projections of the cost of meeting climate change mitigation targets hinge on assumptions made about the cost and timing of the development of breakthrough technologies. However, very little is known about the conditions which are likely to give rise to these technologies.

This paper seeks to uncover attributes of inventions – as reflected in patent data – which serve as "leading indicators" of subsequent technological and market development in climate change mitigation technologies. This work can be seen as a foundation for the future development of a methodology providing guidance to policymakers with respect to public support for different technological fields.

Digital Economy


Countries should address disruptive effects of digital economy

OECD countries are making increased efforts to develop their digital economies in a way that will maximise social and economic benefits, but now need to address the risk of disruption in areas like privacy and jobs, according to a new OECD report.

The OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015 finds that most countries have moved from a narrow focus on communications technology to a broader digital approach that integrates social and economic priorities. Yet no OECD country has a national strategy on online privacy protection or is funding research in this area. The report - which covers areas from broadband penetration and industry consolidation to network neutrality and cloud computing in OECD and partner countries like Brazil, Colombia and Egypt - also says more should be done to offer information and communication technology skills training to help people transition to new types of digital jobs.

big data

Making the most out of public sector information

Part of the shift towards knowledge-based economies is encouraging better access to and use of public sector information (PSI), including open government data, in order to drive innovation, growth and employment. PSI can be used directly to generate products and services, and contributes to improving efficiency and productivity across the economy, including within the public sector.

Aggregate OECD economic impacts of PSI-related applications and use were estimated to be around USD 500 billion - with close to USD 200 billion of additional gains if barriers to use were removed, skills enhanced and the data infrastructure improved. Exploiting the potential PSI market thus requires lower pricing and less restrictive licensing agreements.


Bundling: What impact on competition and on consumers?

Telecoms operators increasingly offer triple or quadruple-play service bundles with price discounts that boost customer retention: 46% of EU households now buy communications services as part of a bundle. This new OECD report examines the challenges for regulators of ensuring that more bundling does not hurt competition. While bundles can increase consumer choice, they can also marginalise smaller operators who are unable to offer all services in one package.

A survey of operators in 12 countries finds that prices of bundles differ greatly depending on broadband speeds, the number and quality of TV channels and whether unlimited calls are provided. Basic triple-play bundles (fixed phone, fixed broadband and pay-TV) varied from $29 a month in France to $79 in Canada as of April 2014, while prices of quadruple-play bundles (triple-play plus mobile services) prices went from $37 in France to $124 in Canada for basic services and from $80 in France to $240 in Canada for premium services.



New series: Steel market developments

Steel Market Developments provide up-to-date information on global and regional steel markets. Reviewed and approved by the OECD Steel Committee, they are disseminated approximately twice a year to allow policy makers, industry, media and academia to keep abreast of the main trends and recent developments taking place in steel markets.

The reports provide an overview of recent supply and demand developments and, when available, forecasts from publicly-available sources. Topics of special interest are occasionally covered, such as developments in steel-related raw material markets, steelmaking capacity trends or updates on specific regions that are important for the global steel market.


Carbon Dioxide Emissions Embodied in International Trade

The OECD’s Inter-Country Input-Output (ICIO) database, combined with the IEA's energy statistics (CO2 emissions from fuel combustion) and other industry statistics, can be used to estimate emissions occurring anywhere in the world, along global production chains, that are eventually consumed by one country.

The top 6 countries and regions in total consumption-based as well as production-based emissions in 2011 are China, the USA, EU28, India, Japan and Russia. While the EU28 countries have decreased both production- and consumption-based since 1995, there was a significant increase in both China and India, and a visible increase in the USA, especially in consumption-based emissions. China is now the country with the single highest absolute emissions from consumption and a production perspective. In per capita terms however, despite the fact that Chinese per capita emissions have doubled since 1995, US consumption-based emissions are still almost four times larger.


Digital economy
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Innovation in science, technology and industry
Industry, entrepreneurship and productivity
Science and technology policy
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