The contracting out of government functions and services to external providers is an established practice in many developed and developing countries. On the one hand, it can offer essential support to states that have to deliver basic services urgently; on the other, it risks bypassing governments and undermining their long-term recovery. The OECD’s Partnership for Democratic Governance was formed in 2007 to gather evidence on this issue.
This handbook does not take a view for or against contracting out; nor is it a technical manual. The handbook is for field practitioners and government policy makers in countries that are either emerging from conflict or are otherwise considered to be fragile. Its aim is to help them make more informed choices about the types of contracting that are best suited to their country. It is a tool to assess whether contracting out might be a possible way forward – either temporarily or over a longer period of time – for delivering a core service (such as basic education, healthcare, water and sanitation) or a government function (such as managing public finances and human resources). The handbook illustrates these points with the aid of case studies ranging from Afghanistan to Haiti and Liberia.
As the hubs of economic activity, cities drive the vast majority of the world’s energy use and are major contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Because they are home to major infrastructure and highly concentrated populations, cities are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and fiercer storms. At the same time, better urban planning and policies can reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and improve the resilience of urban infrastructure to climate change, thus shaping future trends.
This book shows how city and metropolitan regional governments working in tandem with national governments can change the way we think about responding to climate change. The chapters analyse: trends in urbanisation, economic growth, energy use and climate change; the economic benefits of climate action; the role of urban policies in reducing energy demand, improving resilience to climate change and complementing global climate policies; frameworks for multilevel governance of climate change including engagement with relevant stakeholders; and the contribution of cities to “green growth”, including the “greening” of fiscal policies, innovation and jobs. The book also explores policy tools and best practices from both OECD and some non-member countries.
Cities and Climate Change reveals the importance of addressing climate change across all levels of government. Local involvement through “climate-conscious” urban planning and management can help achieve national climate goals and minimise tradeoffs between environmental and economic priorities at local levels. The book will be relevant to policy makers, researchers, and others with an interest in learning more about urbanisation and climate change policy.
Adequate airport capacity is crucial to allowing the global economy to grow. Present regulatory arrangements are not efficient because the airline and airport markets have changed enormously over recent years. There is scope to do much better.
The challenge is to create conditions for efficient infrastructure development in a sector where in some circumstances some airports have market power and might abuse this position. It is important that regulatory intervention only occurs where it is actually needed as it is costly in terms of administrative effort and altering the market. All regulatory controls on the pricing of aviation services carry the risk of getting investment incentives wrong. A number of regulators are beginning to experiment with this key control, with promising results.
This report reviews recent experience with airport regulation on the basis of discussions at the International Transport Forum between leaders of airlines and airports together with regulators and economists. Liberalisation of aviation markets combined with privatisation of most airlines, and now many airports have changed aviation markets rapidly and profoundly. Regulatory models have tended to evolve more slowly and need reform if they are not to become a drag on global growth.
Too many workers leave the labour market permanently due to health problems or disability, and too few people with reduced work capacity manage to remain in employment. This is a social and economic tragedy common to virtually all OECD countries. It also raises an apparent paradox that needs explaining: Why is it that the average health status is improving, yet large numbers of people of working age are leaving the workforce to rely on long-term sickness and disability benefits?
This report, the last in the OECD series Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers, synthesises the project’s findings and explores the possible factors behind the paradox described above. It highlights the roles of institutions and policies and concludes that higher expectations and better incentives for the main actors – workers, employers, doctors, public agencies and service providers – are crucial. Based on a review of good and bad practices across OECD countries, this report suggests a series of major reforms are needed to promote employment of people with health problems.
The report examines a number of critical policy choices between: tightening inflows and raising outflows from disability benefit, and promoting job retention and new hiring of people with health problems. It questions the need for distinguishing unemployment and disability as two distinct contingencies, emphasises the need for a better evidence base, and underlines the challenges for policy implementation.
Information technology (IT) and the Internet are major drivers of research, innovation, growth and social change. The 2010 edition of the OECD Information Technology Outlook analyses the economic crisis and recovery, and suggests that the outlook for IT goods and services industries is good after weathering a turbulent economic period better than during the crisis at the beginning of the 2000s. The industry continues to restructure, with non-OECD economies, particularly China and India, major suppliers of information and communications technology-related goods and services.
The role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in tackling environmental problems and climate change is analysed extensively, with emphasis on the role of ICTs in enabling more widespread improvements in environmental performance across the economy and in underpinning systemic changes in behaviour.
Recent trends in OECD ICT policies are analysed to see if they are rising to new challenges in the recovery. Priorities are now on getting the economy moving, focusing on ICT skills and employment, broadband diffusion, ICT R&D and venture finance, and a major new emphasis on using ICTs to tackle environmental problems and climate change.
Export restrictions on raw materials are applied to achieve a number of policy objectives. However, they can have a significant and negative impact on the efficient allocation of resources, international trade, and the competitiveness and development of industries in both exporting and importing countries.
By diverting exports to domestic markets, export restrictions raise prices for foreign consumers and importers. At the same time, by reducing domestic prices in the applying countries and increasing global uncertainty concerning future prices, export restrictions negatively affect investment, thus potentially reducing the overall supply of raw materials in the long term. In view of existing alternative policy tools that have a different impact on trade, the effectiveness of export restrictions to achieve stated policy objectives should be carefully reviewed.
This publication presents a selection of papers discussed at the OECD Workshop on Raw Materials, held in Paris in October 2009. This workshop was organised in response to the growing concern on the use of export restrictions on raw materials, particularly by emerging economies.
This 2010 review of Japan's environmental conditions and policies evaluates progress in reducing the pollution burden, improving natural resource management, integrating environmental and economic policies, and strengthening international co-operation. It includes coverage of policy for greening growth, implementation of environmental policies, climate change, waste management and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and nature and biodiversity.
The review finds that since the last review, Japan has made steady progress in addressing a range of environmental issues, notably air and water pollution, and the management of chemicals and waste. The energy intensity of the economy has continued to decrease, particularly in the industrial sector, and is among the lowest in OECD countries. Material intensity has also decreased.
At the same time, several more complex, long-term challenges have come to the fore: climate change, sound waste, materials management, and biodiversity conservation. Much of the last decade was characterised by sluggish economic growth, and environment and green innovation are targeted as key drivers of future growth and job creation in Japan's New Growth Strategy.
Improving the environmental performance of agriculture is a high priority for OECD countries. But measuring and evaluating the impact of agri-environmental policies on the environment can be challenging, as it requires linking economic and biophysical models in country-specific contexts.
The OECD has developed the Stylised Agri-environmental Policy Impact Model (SAPIM), which can be adapted and applied by researchers and policy makers to better understand the impact of policies on the agri-environment conditions in their countries.
This report applies the model to representative farms in Finland, Japan, Switzerland and the United States. These countries include a wide range of objectives, policy measures and agri-environmental conditions. The results highlight that when positive or negative environmental externalities are not taken into account by farmers then the production choices by farmers will reflect private costs and benefits. Policies can potentially raise social welfare by taking account of those externalities.
This report notes that, overall, the diversity of conditions across sectors and countries makes it difficult to generalise the impact of agri-environmental policies beyond the situations that are modeled. Nevertheless, some wider policy messages emerge. Drawing on the four case studies examined, this report recommends that; polluting activites that are not regulated should be included in policy design; the existing overall policy environment needs to be taken into account in evaluating agri-environmental policies; and environmental co-benefits and trade-offs need to be recognised.
Green growth policies can stimulate economic growth while preventing environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and unsustainable natural resource use. The results from this publication contribute to the Green Growth Strategy being developed by the OECD as a practical policy package for governments to harness the potential of greener growth.
Located on the southern coast of China, Guangdong is the country’s most populous and rich province. It has 95.4 million inhabitants and provides one-eighth of the national GDP. A key development feature of Guangdong has been “processing trade”, which has allowed companies to profit from importing materials, assembling goods and exporting them via Hong Kong, China.
The recent economic crisis has had a strong impact on the province, although Guangdong also faces in-depth structural problems. Growing labour costs and strain on land availability have increasingly challenged the province’s traditional model of development, as have new competitors in China and abroad. Meanwhile, regional disparities within the province have increased, with a high concentration of economic activities and foreign direct investment in the Pearl River Delta area, an agglomeration of nine prefectures of 47.7 million inhabitants that represents 79.4% of the province’s total GDP.
This review assesses Guangdong’s current approach to economic development. The province is focusing on industrial policies primarily aimed at heavy manufacturing industries (e.g. automobile, shipbuilding, petrochemicals) and supported by investment in hard infrastructure transport projects and energy supply, along with the implementation of the “Double Relocation” policies intended to move lower value-added factories to lagging regions through incentive mechanisms like industrial parks.
The review discusses how some principles of the OECD regional paradigm could help Guangdong. It also addresses the huge environmental challenges that the province is facing and explores the opportunity for developing a green growth strategy. Strategies to improve Guangdong’s governance are analysed as well, with particular attention paid to co-ordination issues within the Pearl River Delta.
The Territorial Review of Guangdong is integrated into a series of thematic reviews on regions undertaken by the OECD Territorial Development Policy Committee. The overall aim of these case studies is to draw and disseminate horizontal policy recommendations for regional and national governments.