Peer Reviews in Economic Surveys

 

Economic and Development Review Committee - Key Elements of the Agreed Principles and Practices

EDRC and the Secretariat: Responsibilities and Roles

In carrying out its mandate, the EDRC has separate, although inter-related, responsibilities:

  • to meet and examine the economic developments and policies of each Member country;
  • to review and modify as necessary the draft Survey of each Member country and approve the final version before publication; and
  • to carry out multilateral surveillance and report where appropriate to other bodies of the Organisation.
The Secretariat prepares a draft Survey for the EDRC for each country being examined. The Survey is then discussed, amended and published on the responsibility of the Committee itself and as such represents the consensus of all OECD Member countries.

Planning of Surveys

Country examinations need to take place on a regular cycle in order to carry out proper surveillance and the maximum period between reviews should not normally exceed 18 months, while for some countries annual reviews are important.

To help prepare the draft Survey, the Secretariat will visit the Member country to hold talks with senior officials, experts, and key economic players. The Secretariat will draft a written “questionnaire” to assist the authorities in preparing for these meetings.

Wherever possible, the authorities should provide written responses and relevant background material to the Secretariat before the start of the mission. The quality of the Secretariat’s draft Survey is heavily dependent on the co-operation of the authorities in submitting all the relevant information in a timely manner.

Documentation and preparation for the Examination

The Secretariat will prepare the draft Survey which will be made available to the country under examination at the same time as all other Member countries.

The Survey should aim to provide maximum value added to the country being examined, other Member countries and the general public, by
  • promoting better understanding of the country’s economic situation and key challenges;
  • enriching the economic policy debate, domestically and internationally; and
  • pointing towards ways of achieving better economic performance.
Throughout the Survey, the focus should be on what the authorities can do to improve economic performance. The Survey should concentrate on those aspects of the policy and institutional framework which are most important for economic performance, even if these aspects are not on the current reform agenda of the authorities.

Policy recommendations should be sharply focused, clearly articulated and constructive and should address all the key challenges to economic policy. If second-best solutions are recommended, they should be clearly identified as such.

The Survey should explicitly follow up on recommendations made by the Committee in previous years (especially on structural matters) and outline the actions taken if any, or propose any changes to the earlier recommendations that would be appropriate for the Committee to adopt.

International comparisons and empirical analysis should be drawn on wherever possible, as these are a major source of the OECD’s value added to Member countries. Lessons from other countries experience with policies can be particularly helpful. The Surveys will also draw on and integrate relevant analysis prepared for other committees, where appropriate.

A Questions for Discussion Note is prepared for each examination by the Secretariat in close consultation with two examining countries. The note shall identify the key themes around which the discussion of each draft Economic Survey should be organised.

The examination itself

The examination has several objectives:

  • to assess the economic situation and policies, along with the principal policy objectives and the means to achieve them, of the country being examined;
  • to formulate recommendations on the policies concerned and follow up on recommendations made in previous Surveys;
  • to provide guidance to the Secretariat for redrafting the Economic Survey to reflect the Committee’s conclusions.
If in the Secretariat’s view, economic trouble may be looming, the Committee expects the Secretariat to be vocal in identifying prospective problems.

The head of delegation of the country being examined will make a brief opening statement, which should cover both macroeconomic and structural themes. This statement should:
  • provide a brief update on any major economic or policy developments since the draft Economic Survey was completed; and
  • identify any substantive points of disagreement with the draft Assessment and Recommendations and with the analysis presented in the main text.
The two examining countries will be invited to begin the review of each part of the Questions for Discussion, which provides a guide to all participants on the most important issues and raises certain specific questions. The country being examined will then be asked to answer comments and questions put to it by the examiners.

Following the round of comments and questions from examiners and answers to them, the discussion will be opened for other Members of the Committee to make brief observations or put additional questions, and the representatives of the country being examined will be given a chance to respond. At the end of each part of the discussion, the Secretariat will be given an opportunity to respond to points raised during the discussion and specific questions directed at it.

At the end of the examination, the chair will draw the main conclusions for the major policy issues and the most important changes to the draft Economic Survey. Further discussion may then be needed for the Committee to reach a consensus. The Chair’s conclusions should guide the subsequent redrafting of the Survey.

Approval and publication of the Survey

The day following the meeting is reserved for bilateral discussions between the examined country and the Secretariat to arrive at agreed drafting on the principal points of the Survey, in light of the discussion in the Committee as reflected in the Chair’s conclusions.

Following agreement between the examined country and the Secretariat on text changes, the revised Assessment and Recommendations and all parts of the main text that have been substantially and substantively revised are circulated again to the Committee for their approval. Other Delegations are invited, at this stage, to circulate their reactions to the Committee if they consider that the revised draft does not fully reflect the centre of gravity of the Committee’s deliberations.

The Survey will be made ready for publication as quickly as possible after the Committee has approved final drafting changes with initial release being in electronic and/or printed form depending on the circumstances. Member countries undertake to work with the Secretariat to resolve all outstanding details as quickly as possible and if at all possible within two weeks of the meeting itself, to facilitate the publications process.

At the time of release, Policy Briefs (using the Assessment and Recommendations text) will be made available in both official languages of the OECD, as well as in third languages where the country in question has made arrangements for such release. The Secretariat will make itself available for press briefings at the time of the Survey’s release.