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Chief Economist Talks | 16/04/2021

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Virtual event | 23-25/03/2021

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23/02/2021

Fostering Economic Resilience in a World of Open and Integrated Markets

03/02/2021

The Digital Transformation of SMEs

The Digital Transformation of SMEs

19/01/2021

Africa’s Development Dynamics 2021: Digital Transformation for Quality Jobs

Africa’s Development Dynamics 2021: Digital Transformation for Quality Jobs

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14/04/2021
Going for Growth 2021 identifies country-specific structural policy priorities for the recovery across OECD and key non-member countries (Argentina, Brazil, The People’s Republic of China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia and South Africa). It frames the main policy challenges of the current juncture along three main areas: building resilience; facilitating reallocation and boosting productivity growth for all; and supporting people in transition. The publication also highlights priorities in areas necessitating increased international cooperation in order to manage cross border spillovers: health, climate change, trade and taxation challenges of digital economies.
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13/04/2021
The COVID-19 crisis may bring lasting socioeconomic changes, also affecting science, technology and innovation (STI). This paper discusses the effects that the COVID-19 crisis could have on the future of STI and its policies, building on lessons learned from past crises, an analysis of diverse sources of early data and insights from expert discussions in international policy fora. Factors shaping the future of STI include the unequal effects of the crisis on R&D spending across sectors, the accelerated adoption of digital tools and techniques, and changes in the openness and inclusiveness of research and innovation ecosystems. The paper also explores how STI policy could experience fundamental changes as resilience, environmental sustainability and inclusiveness become more prominent objectives on policy agendas. This includes experimentation with new data and digital tools for policy purposes and unconventional policy approaches, which could spur the adoption of new and more effective STI policies.
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09/04/2021
This policy brief uses online job vacancy postings as a partial indicator of the impact of COVID-19 on skills demand in five OECD countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) between January and November 2020. The pandemic, as well as containment and mitigation measures designed to halt its spread, had a large but heterogeneous impact on the demand for skills. By early May, the total volume of online job vacancies had fallen by over 50% in all the countries analysed with respect to the beginning of the year, with even larger declines in some sectors. However, the demand for specific skills in the healthcare sector and in logistics increased. There is also evidence of an increase in vacancies involving remote-working arrangements. The brief also shows that the crisis affected differently individuals with different levels of educational qualifications and that such effect differed across the countries analysed.
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23/03/2021
In response to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are looking to their Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) to fill any financing gaps left by the private market and to mitigate the impact of the crisis by engaging in both short-term (ST) and medium- and long-term (MLT) trade finance. In the absence of comprehensive data on trade finance, this brief uses OECD surveys and other related indicators to attempt to identify emerging trends. These indicators suggest that ST trade finance is facing access problems (increased costs of ST financing for SMEs and higher rates of rejected applications) while MLT trade finance appears to be relatively resilient (decrease of 34% in volume and 15% in number of MLT export credit transaction). ECAs may therefore have a role to play in ST trade finance by acting on liquidity and increasing capacity. However for MLT trade finance, ECAs might have fewer levers for action, especially if the pandemic is affecting the demand side and reducing the pipeline of projects.
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18/03/2021
Indonesia experienced its first recession in over two decades in 2020, although large-scale fiscal stimulus and monetary support limited its depth and impact. The approval of an ambitious package of structural reforms, covering labour laws, taxes and ease of doing business, testifies of the authorities’ commitment to attract high-quality investment that will enhance wealth and well-being. This is key at a time when Indonesia embarks in trade and investment liberalisation through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with East Asia and Oceania partners, with new opportunities and challenges. Nevertheless, the pandemic leaves behind strong headwinds. The COVID-19 impact compounds pre-existing challenges, notably a very high incidence of informality and relatively low levels of skills. Uncertainty surrounds the vaccination roll-out and the resumption of a normal life, especially for children who have been deprived of school for an unprecedentedly-long period. The crisis will have a lasting effect on some vulnerable socio-economic sectors and therefore requires improvements in the delivery of social services.SPECIAL FEATURE: SKILLS
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16/03/2021
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to limit the spread of the disease have significantly disrupted economic activity in countries around the world, resulting in significant business interruption losses. The vast majority of these losses are likely to be absorbed by policyholders as, unless governments (or courts) intervene, few companies have business interruption coverage that is likely to respond to these types of losses – exposing the existence of an important protection gap for some pandemic-related business interruption losses. This note provides an overview of how business interruption insurance against pandemic risk could be provided with support from governments, and some of the challenges and considerations necessary for establishing such a programme.
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11/03/2021
Canada’s vaccine rollout is bringing the prospect of an end to the COVID-19 crisis and a pick-up in output growth is expected. An ultra-low policy rate and other monetary measures continue to provide substantial support for the economy and fiscal support for households and businesses has been substantial. However, risks and uncertainties remain large, notably around how quickly restrictions can be reduced as vaccine rollout proceeds, and how rapidly households will unwind precautionary saving. The COVID-19 crisis has also brought to light shortfalls in welfare programmes. Building back with a sustainable economic recovery will involve challenges for Canada’s policy on greenhouse-gas reduction and will reinforce the need to tackle some longstanding issues in welfare programmes and in impediments to business productivity.This Survey’s in-depth examination of well-being finds that Canada has scope to make greater use of quantitative indicators in policymaking. This could help frame policy agendas and benchmark progress. Healthcare, childcare, affordable housing and support for Indigenous peoples are among the areas with room for improved policies that can lead to improvements in well-being.SPECIAL FEATURE: WELL-BEING
10/03/2021
One year after the outbreak of the COVID‑19 crisis, the future looks certainly brighter but it is not yet time to withdraw policy support for people and companies. Even if the headline labour market figures in many countries look better than in Q2 2020, millions of workers are still on job retention schemes and millions of others are unemployed or underemployed. In the coming months, while countries prepare for the implementation of their recovery plans, it is essential to continue supporting families and companies still deeply affected by the crisis, while providing the right incentives for job creation and resuming work. Without these measures, the recovery would start from an even worse economic and social starting point. The short-term costs are high but they are much lower than the costs of mass bankruptcies, layoffs and a depressed economy and labour market. Furthermore, the short-term costs can be reduced by enhancing the targeting of support to the most vulnerable sectors, companies and households, while fostering start-ups and job creation.
09/03/2021
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow over the world’s economies but economic prospects have improved with the forthcoming global vaccines rollout, although divergences are increasing across and within countries.This Interim Report provides updates for G20 country projections made in the December 2020 issue of the OECD Economic Outlook (Number 108).
18/02/2021
Firm entry has rebounded after the drop experienced during the first COVID-19 lockdowns of early 2020, yet the recovery in entry rates is highly heterogeneous across countries, with possible long-term implications for employment and output growth. Financial support to firms’ liquidity and temporary changes to insolvency procedures have been effective in reducing bankruptcies, on average, by more than 30% relative to the pre-pandemic period. Policy measures may have protected viable and productive firms and avoided the systemic risks posed by a wave of bankruptcies, but at the risk of potentially keeping non-viable (the so-called zombie) firms afloat. Governments should implement a balanced strategy to phase out emergency support policies and pursue a gradual approach focusing on restoring the equity of distressed firms, encouraging timely debt restructuring and improving the efficiency of liquidation procedures, with the aim of fostering resource reallocation.
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16/02/2021
The management of multilateral fish stocks is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted the operations of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), which have jurisdiction over fish stocks that either straddle the exclusive economic zones of several countries or are predominantly in the high seas. This is largely because of reduced monitoring, control and surveillance capacity due to limitations imposed on the operations of observer and surveillance programmes and the challenges of decision making in virtual meetings. A survey undertaken in July 2020, to which 13 RFMOs and nine OECD members responded, reveals that: i) over two-thirds of RFMOs have reduced in-person and on-board observation of vessels, increasing the opportunity for unscrupulous operators to engage in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing; and ii) almost all (92.3%) RFMOs surveyed have experienced disruption to their regular scheduled meetings and 84.6% reported disturbance to regular decision making. Nonetheless, on a positive note, the COVID-19 pandemic may spur the uptake of new technologies for virtual meetings and the monitoring of fishing activities.
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11/02/2021
The policy debate on whether the gains from international specialisation in global value chains (GVCs) outweigh the associated risks of transmission of shocks has intensified in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting disruptions in supply chains of some manufacturing and medical products. Questions are even being asked whether governments should use policy tools to “re-localis” GVCs. This policy brief first identifies key potential sources of exposure to shocks in GVCs. Second, it uses the OECD’s global trade model to shed light on the consequences of a stylised re-localisation policy scenario, in terms of both economic efficiency and stability. In this scenario, countries are less exposed to foreign shocks, but they are also less efficient and less able to cushion shocks through trade. Quantitatively, the latter effect tends to dominate. The economic case for policy-induced reshoring of GVCs is therefore weak. There is nevertheless scope for international co-operation and governments to join efforts with businesses to improve risk preparedness.
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10/02/2021
Science, technology and innovation (STI) have played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented socio-economic crisis it has triggered. This paper explores how the pandemic affected STI in 2020, including how STI was mobilised to provide vaccines, treatments and innovative (often digital) solutions to address “social distancing”. The paper also reviews the quick and agile STI policy responses implemented across countries to stimulate research and innovation activities to find solutions to the pandemic. Moreover, the paper covers STI policies that targeted universities, research centres, innovative businesses and entrepreneurs most affected by the crisis. It also raises key debates on the effectiveness of such policies. Follow-up work will leverage more and better data to improve this early assessment of the impacts of the crisis and STI policy responses.
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04/02/2021
The Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India is a regular publication on regional economic growth, development and regional integration in Emerging Asia. It focuses on the economic conditions of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. It also addresses relevant economic issues in China and India to fully reflect economic developments in the region. The Outlook comprises two main parts, each highlighting a particular dimension of recent economic developments in the region. The first part presents the regional economic monitor, depicting the economic outlook and macroeconomic challenges in the region. The second part consists of a special thematic chapter addressing a major issue facing the region. The 2021 edition of the Outlook addresses reallocation of resources to digitalisation in response to COVID-19, with special focuses on health, education and Industry 4.0. During the COVID-19 crisis, digitalisation has proved critical to ensuring the continuity of essential services. The use of e-commerce, digital health tools and on-line education all accelerated sharply during the pandemic in Emerging Asia. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, for the region to be able to get the full benefits of digitalisation.
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04/02/2021
In the last decades, Chile has made tremendous progress towards greater economic prosperity and lower poverty. Per capita income more than doubled over the past 20 years and is now the highest in Latin America. These progresses have now come to a halt. Since October 2019 Chile has faced two unprecedented shocks, the social protests and the COVID 19 outbreak. Income convergence was already slowing before these shocks amid modest productivity growth and while the past growth performance has lifted many Chileans out of poverty over the last three decades, income inequality remains high by OECD standards. However, such unprecedented times gives the opportunity to create consensus among citizens around major pending reforms, strengthen common values around the importance of having strong public services and the relevance of belonging to the formal sector. Achieving such economic and social improvements will require further progress toward reducing inequalities and building a stronger middle-class, raising productivity and the dynamism of SMEs, that will be especially impacted by the outbreak. Moreover, during the pandemic digital technologies are being critical to sustain continuity in business and jobs. Digitalisation will play an ever important role in the recovery, while addressing the persistent low productivity.SPECIAL FEATURE: DIGITALISATION, PRODUCTIVITY AND SKILLS
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03/02/2021
Despite potentially tremendous benefits, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lag in the digital transformation. Emerging technologies, as diverse as they are, offer a range of applications for them to improve performance and overcome the size-related limitations they face in doing business. However, SMEs must be better prepared, and stakes are high. SMEs make the most of the industrial fabric in many countries and regions, they create jobs (most jobs sometimes) and are the cement of inclusive and sustainable societies. The SME digital gap has increased inequalities among people, places and firms, and there are concerns that the benefits of the digital transformation could accrue to early adopters, further broadening these inequalities. Enabling SME digitalisation has become a top policy priority in OECD countries and beyond. The report looks at recent trends in SME digital uptake, including in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. It focuses on issues related to digital security, online platforms, blockchain ecosystems, and artificial intelligence. The report identifies opportunities, risks of not going digital, and barriers to adoption. It looks to concrete policy action taken worldwide to speed the SME transformation and raises a series of considerations to advance the SME digital policy agenda.
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29/01/2021
The COVID-19 outbreak abruptly stopped several years of robust economic growth in Bulgaria. Public finances are sound and the government took rapid action to support firms and households. Coping with the pandemic and strengthening the recovery will require continued fiscal support, public investment and the advancement of priority reforms. Bulgaria also faces the challenge of how to sustain and ultimately enhance improvements in living standards for all to tackle rising inequality and persistently high poverty. Tackling obstacles to business sector growth will be key to attracting investment, boosting productivity and providing people with skills to take advantage of new job opportunities. Many rural regions are suffering from depopulation and rapid ageing. Regional income differences in Bulgaria are larger than in most OECD countries and growth has been lower in regions without larger cities. Investments in infrastructure and housing reform would help to boost mobility and strengthen links to national and international supply chains.SPECIAL FEATURES: STRUCTURAL REFORMS TO RAISE PRODUCTIVITY AND BOOST CONVERGENCE; REDUCING REGIONAL DISPARITIES FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH
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26/01/2021
Small island developing states (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which is disrupting key economic sectors that SIDS’ undiversified and already fragile economies strongly rely upon. While they are succeeding to contain the health emergency, SIDS are faced with severe economic impacts which require bold government action and adequate international support. This policy brief: (i) highlights the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across SIDS; (ii) provides an overview of the support delivered by development co-operation providers to face the crisis; and (iii) provides suggestions to ensure that international support can lead to a fast and sustainable recovery in SIDS: a ‘blue’ recovery.
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22/01/2021
COVID-19 disruptions to international mobility drove a collapse in services trade. In the medium term, the OECD estimates that closing borders to passengers could increase services trade costs by an average of 12% across sectors and countries. Restoring safe cross-border mobility through internationally co-ordinated border health protocols and mutual recognition agreements is therefore crucial to a strong economic recovery.
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22/01/2021
This paper provides an overview of the trends and differences in the prevalence of telework across EU countries, sectors and occupations before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive evidence shows that before the outbreak telework was more widespread in ICT- and knowledge-intensive sectors, and generally for high-skilled workers, although with big differences across EU countries. In fact, as shown in this paper, the prevalence of telework varied considerably across countries even within the same sector and occupational group. This suggests that, beyond differences in the industrial and occupational structure of employment, other factors, notably related to differences in organisation and management cultures, contribute to explaining the varying prevalence of telework in the EU. As a result of the outbreak-induced requirements to work from home, differences in telework uptake across countries, sectors and job profiles have likely narrowed in recent months. Yet, if past trends are a guide, the ability to further scale up telework in the future without hampering productivity may remain unevenly distributed in the EU.
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