How was life in 1820, and how has it improved since then? What are the long-term trends in global well-being? Views on social progress since the Industrial Revolution are largely based on historical national accounting in the tradition of Kuznets and Maddison. But trends in real GDP per capita may not fully reflect changes in other dimensions of well-being such as life expectancy, education, personal security or gender inequality. Looking at these indicators usually reveals a more equal world than the picture given by incomes alone, but has this always been the case? The new report How Was Life? aims to fill this gap. It presents the first systematic evidence on long-term trends in global well-being since 1820 for 25 major countries and 8 regions in the world covering more than 80% of the world’s population. It not only shows the data but also discusses the underlying sources and their limitations, pays attention to country averages and inequality, and pinpoints avenues for further research.
The How Was Life? report is the product of collaboration between the OECD, the OECD Development Centre and the CLIO-INFRA project. It represents the culmination of work by a group of economic historians to systematically chart long-term changes in the dimensions of global well-being and inequality, making use of the most recent research carried out within the discipline. The historical evidence reviewed in the report is organised around 10 different dimensions of well-being that mirror those used by the OECD in its well-being report How’s Life? (www.oecd.org/howslife), and draw on the best sources and expertise currently available for historical perspectives in this field. These dimensions are:per capita GDP, real wages, educational attainment, life expectancy, height, personal security, political institutions, environmental quality, income inequality and gender inequality.
Uruguay has made remarkable progress over the past decade. Stable macroeconomic policies and a favourable external environment have permitted brisk growth and the financing of social policies. Substantial improvements in several dimensions of human well-being have occurred during this period, alongside considerable reductions in external risks. The conditions ahead, however, may present challenges to maintaining performance. Overcoming these challenges will require finding the appropriate balance between long run objectives and macroeconomic and fiscal stability.
One of the main obstacles to economic growth is the insufficient and inadequate provision of human capital and skills. A number of challenges remain for education, which, together with fiscal policy, are key means of reducing inequalities and sustaining economic growth. In addition, Uruguay needs to address labour shortages to avoid constraints on future growth, especially as exports become more skills-intensive. It is important to orient social policies and expenditures towards the most vulnerable groups.
The project "Benefits and Wages" addresses the complicated interactions of tax and benefit systems for different family types and labour market situations and their impact on household incomes and financial work incentives.
This report examines the sustainability of social institutions and their ability to absorb and cope with short-term shocks and longer-term trends by providing risk sharing and expenditure smoothing, focusing on pension, health care and unemployment insurance schemes.
People today are living longer than ever before, while birth rates are dropping in the majority of OECD countries. In such demographics, public social expenditures require to be adequate and sustainable in the long term. Older workers play a crucial role in the labour market. Now that legal retirement ages are rising, older workers will work longer and employers will have to retain them. But those older workers who have lost their job have experienced long term-unemployment and low probabilities to return to work. What can countries do to help? How can they give older people better work incentives and opportunities? How can they promote age diversity in firms? This report offers analysis and assessment on what the best policies are for fostering employability, job mobility and labour demand at an older age in France.
This study finds unprecedented political and policy commitment from OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors to accelerating progress towards gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights.
Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3 million people across the world every year, and causes health problems from asthma to heart disease for many more. This is costing societies very large amounts in terms of the value of lives lost and ill health. Based on extensive new epidemiological evidence since the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, and OECD estimates of the Value of Statistical Life, this report provides evidence on the health impacts from air pollution and the related economic costs.
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This document reports on the recent policy action that countries have taken to improve youth labour market outcomes. It also reports on the support that the OECD has provided to countries to help them implement the Action Plan at the national and local level.
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This paper highlights some of the factors that drive the resilience of our economies, societies, institutions, and which impact on global environmental resilience; discusses the main short- and long-term challenges faced by governments; and identifies policy recommendations that can help strengthen resilience across all four dimensions.
Given the ageing challenges, there is an increasing pressure in OECD countries to further boost the employability of the working-age population over the coming decades. This report provides an overview of policy iniatives implemented over the past decade in the Netherlands and identifies areas where more should be done, covering both supply-side and demand-side aspects. To give better incentives to carry on working, the report recommends to promote longer contribution periods in the second-pillar pension schemes, and ensure better information and transparency of pension schemes, with a special focus on groups with low financial literacy. On the side of employers, it is important to progress towards more age-neutral hiring decisions and wage-setting procedures with more focus on performance and less on tenure and seniority. To improve the employability of older workers, the focus should be to promote training measures for older unemployed which are directly linked to a specific job. The large diversity in municipal "Work-First"programmes should be utilised in designing mor effective activation policies targetted on those at risk of losing contact with the labour market.