In 2014, the US economy added more jobs than in any year since the 1990s. In fact, this longest streak of job growth on record has persisted into 2015. Inflation-adjusted wages are up by 1.4% annually over the last two years, more than twice the pace of the last recovery. But this is still not enough to make up for decades of subpar gains for middle-class families–a challenge shared by many other OECD economies.
Consistent careers are a hallmark of a successful retirement. However, too often, workers are called away from employment to care for loved ones, both young and old. Without adequate government or employer protections, workers risk losing valuable years of prime income earning and retirement contribution potential, while being paid nothing to take care of sick or disabled family.
The gap between rich and poor keeps widening. Growth, if any, has disproportionally benefited higher income groups while lower income households have been left behind. This long-run increase in income inequality not only raises social and political concerns, but also economic ones. It tends to drag down GDP growth, due to the rising distance of the lower 40% from the rest of society. Lower income people have been prevented from realising their human capital potential, which is bad for the economy as a whole. This book highlights the key areas where inequalities are created and where new policies are required, including: the consequences of current consolidation policies; structural labour market changes with rising non-standard work and job polarization; persisting gender gaps; the challenge of high wealth concentration, and the role for redistribution policies.
For years now we have been underlining the toll that inequality takes on people’s lives. And I am proud of the contribution that the OECD has made in recent decades, putting inequality at the heart of the political and economic debate. This report proposes concrete policy solutions to promote opportunities for more inclusive growth.
Income inequality has reached record highs in most OECD countries and remains at even higher levels in many emerging economies. The richest 10 per cent of the population in the OECD now earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent, up from 7:1 in the 1980s and 9:1 in the 2000s, according to a new OECD report.
Today the OECD unveils its Better Life Index (BLI) in Italian. The BLI is an interactive online platform that offers important insights into how people perceive their own well-being and quality of life. For the first time, Italians will be able to access this instrument in their own language and find out how Italy compares to 35 other countries around the world across 11 dimensions of well-being.
Alcoholic beverages, and their harmful use, have been familiar fixtures in human societies since the beginning of recorded history. Worldwide, alcohol is a leading cause of ill health and premature mortality. It accounts for 1 in 17 deaths, and for a significant proportion of disabilities, especially in men. In OECD countries, alcohol consumption is about twice the world average. Its social costs are estimated in excess of 1% of GDP in high- and middle-income countries. When it is not the result of addiction, alcohol use is an individual choice, driven by social norms, with strong cultural connotations. This is reflected in unique patterns of social disparity in drinking, showing the well-to-do in some cases more prone to hazardous use of alcohol, and a polarisation of problem-drinking at the two ends of the social spectrum. Certain patterns of drinking have social impacts, which provide a strong economic rationale for governments to influence the use of alcohol through policies aimed at curbing harms, including those occurring to people other than drinkers. Some policy approaches are more effective and efficient than others, depending on their ability to trigger changes in social norms, and on how well they can target the groups that are most at risk. This book provides a detailed examination of trends and social disparities in alcohol consumption. It offers a wide-ranging assessment of the health, social and economic impacts of key policy options for tackling alcohol-related harms in three OECD countries (Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany), extracting relevant policy messages for a broader set of countries.
The recent riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddy Gray bring a tragic focus, once again, on inequality. Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore is a perfect laboratory to study it, thanks in part to the superb comparative statistics the city keeps. OECD Insights Blog.
English, PDF, 371kb
In November 2014, the G20 Leaders committed to reduce the gender labour force participation gap by 25% by 2025, as a collective commitment at G20 level. As an input to that decision, the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers issued a Declaration which included this issue and set forth 11 policy areas for potential action. This note proposes options and approaches for tracking the Leaders’ commitment to reduce the gender gap.
English, PDF, 405kb
Three out of four OECD countries use minimum wages, and supporting low-wage earners is widely seen as important for promoting inclusive growth. This policy brief considers three aspects that are central for a balanced assessment of policy choices: The cost of employing minimum-wage workers, their take-home pay, and the number of workers affected.