Focus on an inclusive recovery

Spotlight

Making gender equality a reality

Evolving distance education to ensure inclusive participation

Supporting people, jobs & small businesses

Young people & women hit hard by jobs crisis, January 2021

Closing the digital divide

Measuring what matters in people's lives

Working together on health, tax & trade

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30/03/2021
Achieving gender equality and tackling discriminatory laws, social norms and practices set a direct path toward a more inclusive economy and society. The SIGI 2021 Regional Report for Southeast Asia provides new evidence-based analysis on the setbacks and progress in achieving gender equality between 2014 and 2019 in 11 countries. The report uncovers the discrimination women face within social institutions in various dimensions; in the family and household context, in relation to physical integrity and access to productive and financial resources, as well within the political and civil spheres. The SIGI 2021 Regional Report for Southeast Asia explores the interaction between women’s empowerment and discriminatory social institutions by looking specifically at four core areas – health, education, the economic dimension and decision making. It also unveils the cost of discriminatory social institutions for Southeast Asian countries and the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for women and girls. Building on the regional analysis of how discriminatory social institutions continue to hinder efforts toward SDG 5, the report provides a set of policy recommendations to enhance governments’ efforts to deliver on their gender equality commitments by 2030.
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25/03/2021
This brief proposes estimates of the loss in on-the-job learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation in informal learning due to widespread shutdowns of economic activities is estimated to have decreased by 25%. In the case of non-formal learning the estimate corresponds to 18%. This represents a notable amount of lost learning, and one which may not be easily recovered. Estimated learning losses are highly heterogeneous across sectors and individuals, and depend on the pervasiveness of shutdowns of economic activities. Workers employed in administrative and support service activities; in the arts, entertainment and recreation, are expected to lose, on average, nearly three-quarters of informal and non‑formal learning opportunities per week. Results also show that the pandemic likely led to fewer learning opportunities for disadvantaged and low-skilled workers who, in turn, are most likely going to need retraining.
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15/03/2021
The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the urgency of addressing together the dual challenges of inequality and environmental degradation. This paper contributes to the debate on the inequalities-environment nexus by analysing the consequences of the environmental degradation and of environmental policies on four well-being dimensions: health, income and wealth, work and job quality, and safety. The analysis shows that the impacts of environmental degradation tends to be concentrated among vulnerable groups and households. At the same, the benefits and costs of environmental policies are also likely to be unevenly distributed across households. In this context, policy packages for an inclusive green transition should aim at: (i) mitigating the possible regressive impact of pricing environmental externalities, (ii) investing in human capital and upgrading skills to facilitate labour reallocation, (iii) addressing systemic inequalities with sectoral and place-based policies, (iv) ensuring efficient and responsive governance. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for an effective framework to measure progress towards a people-centred green recovery, and possible areas of future work.
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10/03/2021
Labour market inequalities are well-known to be the main drivers of the gender pension gap. This publication focuses on helping governments find solutions for retirement savings arrangements that do not further exacerbate these inequalities. This study first analyses why the gender pension gap exists and sheds light on some of the behavioural and cultural factors that contribute to these inequalities. Country case studies assess how demographics, labour markets and other factors may affect gaps in pension coverage, assets and entitlements. The study then explores how the design of retirement savings plans affects men and women differently. Finally, it provides policy options to improve retirement savings outcomes for women and to help close the gender pension gap.
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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.
05/03/2021
COVID-19 has put renewed focus on the importance of addressing longstanding challenges that OECD governments face in delivering public services, especially in regions with people spread over a wider area where economies of scale are more difficult to achieve. The physical infrastructure needed to provide good quality education and health services can be more complex and expensive in rural and remote regions that also struggle to attract and retain education and health care professionals. Acute ageing trends in many rural regions and, in some cases, a shrinking population will require sustainable policy responses that will need to be coherent with pressure to drive efficiencies in public spending. This report examines the nuances specific to the delivery of education and health care to people everywhere, offering recommendations on how to better adapt provision to the realities of today and the emerging realities of tomorrow to face the challenges of distance, demographic change and fiscal belt-tightening. The report also examines digital connectivity issues in rural and remote regions, recognising the significant scope for digital delivery of services to mitigate challenges related to distance. Finally, the report looks at governance issues, including fiscal issues, through which the delivery of these critical services is administered and paid for.
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04/03/2021
Differences in average wages across firms – which account for around one-half of overall wage inequality – are mainly explained by differences in firm wage premia (the part of wages that depends exclusively on characteristics of firms) rather than workforce composition. Using a new cross-country dataset of linked employer-employee data, this paper investigates the role of cross-firm dispersion in productivity in explaining dispersion in firm wage premia, as well as the factors shaping the link between productivity and wages at the firm level. The results suggest that around 15% of cross-firm differences in productivity are passed on to differences in firm wage premia. The degree of pass-through is systematically larger in countries and industries with more limited job mobility, where low-productivity firms can afford to pay lower wage premia relative to high-productivity ones without a substantial fraction of workers quitting their jobs. Stronger product market competition raises pass-through while more centralised bargaining and higher minimum wages constrain firm-level wage setting at any given level of productivity dispersion. From a policy perspective, the results suggest that the key priority should be to promote job mobility, which would reduce wage differences between firms while easing the efficient reallocation of workers across them.
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02/03/2021
Skills are central to the capacity of countries and people to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic will require countries to co-ordinate interventions to help recent graduates find jobs, reactivate the skills of displaced workers and use skills effectively in workplaces. Megatrends such as globalisation, climate change, technological progress and demographic change will continue to reshape work and society. Countries should take action now to develop and use more effectively the skills required for the world of the future and at the same time make their skills systems more resilient and adaptable in the context of change and uncertainty.The OECD Skills Strategy provides countries with a strategic approach to assess their skills challenges and opportunities. The foundation of this approach is the OECD Skills Strategy framework allowing countries to explore how they can improve i) developing relevant skills, ii) using skills effectively, and iii) strengthening the governance of the skills system.This report applies the OECD Skills Strategy framework to Southeast Asia, providing an overview of the region’s skills challenges and opportunities in the context of COVID-19 and megatrends, and identifying good practices for improving skills outcomes. This report lays the foundation for a more fully elaborated Skills Strategy for Southeast Asia.
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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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11/02/2021
The COVID-19 crisis has reiterated the importance of adult learning and career guidance services as many adults have lost their jobs and now require upskilling and reskilling opportunities in order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of work. Yet, in order to achieve its positive gains, adult training needs to be of high quality and ensure successful learning experiences for all participants. This report therefore aims at supporting public authorities to enhance quality in the field of non-formal adult learning. It provides an overview of quality assurance systems across Europe, highlighting their implementation features, governance structures and success factors. Based on this analysis, the report develops a Quality Assurance in Adult Learning Decision Tree to support the decision-making process of governments that are planning reforms of their quality assurance systems.
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04/02/2021
As the roll out of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines begins, this policy brief asks how to ensure vaccines for all. In doing so, it examines the case for multilateral approaches to access and delivery, maps key challenges, and identifies priority actions for policy makers. The absence of a comprehensive approach to ensure vaccine access in developing countries threatens to prolong the pandemic, escalating inequalities and delaying the global economic recovery. While new collaborative efforts such as ACT Accelerator and its COVAX initiative are helping to bridge current gaps, these are not enough in circumstances where demand far outstrips supply. Based on the current trajectory, mass immunisation efforts for poorer countries could be delayed until 2024 or beyond, prolonging human and economic suffering for all countries. Policy actions to support equitable vaccine access in developing countries include: (i) supporting multilateral frameworks for equitable allocation of vaccines and for crisis response, resilience and prevention; (ii) highlighting the role of development finance; and, (iii) promoting context-driven solutions.
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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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28/01/2021
The policy brief details the critical challenges for the well-being of children in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and lays out the foundations of a Framework for Achieving the Well-Being of Children in the post-COVID-19 Decade to ensure that children are put at the centre of efforts to build back better. The Framework proposes five pillars of action, which includes developing a data framework for monitoring child well-being outcomes and policies and ensuring political leadership and commitment for child well-being. The brief also provides an overview summary of a webinar hosted by the OECD and the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures in October 2020. This webinar provided a platform for OECD member countries and child well-being experts to share examples of country or regional policies and initiatives aimed at promoting child well-being during the pandemic, and to start shaping a shared understanding of child well-being and the outcome objectives.
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26/01/2021
Career guidance is a fundamental policy lever to help adults successfully navigate a constantly evolving labour market through advice and information on job and training opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of career guidance services. Many adults have lost their jobs and require assistance navigating their career options in a changing labour market, where firms are likely to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in the name of pandemic-proofing. But compared to career guidance services for youth, services for adults receive relatively little policy attention, and little is known of how often existing services are used. This report scopes out initiatives in the area of career guidance for adults in OECD countries, drawing lessons on how to strengthen adult career guidance systems in terms of coverage and inclusiveness, provision and service delivery, quality and impact, and governance and funding. The findings of the report build on the information collected through the 2020 Survey of Career Guidance for Adults (SCGA), an online survey of adults’ experience with career guidance.
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26/01/2021
Despite the significant negative impacts of COVID-19 on tourism, the crisis is providing an opportunity to rethink tourism for the future. Achieving this greener and more sustainable tourism recovery, calls for a greater policy focus on the environmental and socio-cultural pillars of sustainability. The paper focuses on five main pillars of policy solutions, and best practices, to help destinations rebuild and flourish in this dramatically changed policy context for tourism development. Recommended policy solutions aim to: i) rethink tourism success, ii) adopt an integrated policy-industry-community approach, iii) mainstream sustainable policies and practices, iv) develop more sustainable tourism business models, and v) implement better measure to better manage. The report presents a selection of 9 case studies on destination strategies to support a sustainable and inclusive recovery.
19/01/2021
Africa’s Development Dynamics uses lessons learned in the continent’s five regions – Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa – to develop policy recommendations and share good practices. Drawing on the most recent statistics, this analysis of development dynamics attempts to help African leaders reach the targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels: continental, regional, national and local.The 2021 edition, now published at the beginning of the year, explores how digitalisation can create quality jobs and contribute to achieving Agenda 2063, thereby making African economies more resilient to the global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report targets four main policy areas for Africa’s digital transformation: bridging the digital divide; supporting local innovation; empowering own-account workers; and harmonising, implementing and monitoring digital strategies. This edition includes a new chapter examining how to finance Africa’s development despite the 2020 global economic crisis.Africa’s Development Dynamics feeds into a policy debate between the African Union’s governments, citizens, entrepreneurs and researchers. It aims to be part of a new collaboration between countries and regions, which focuses on mutual learning and the preservation of common goods. This report results from a partnership between the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.
11/01/2021
Food systems around the world face a triple challenge: providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population; supporting livelihoods for those working along the food supply chain; and contributing to environmental sustainability. Better policies hold tremendous promise for making progress in these domains. This report focuses on three questions. What has been the performance of food systems to date, and what role did policies play? How can policy makers design coherent policies across the triple challenge? And how can policy makers deal with frictions related to facts, interests, and values, which often complicate the task of achieving better policies? Better policies will require breaking down silos between agriculture, health, and environmental policies, and overcoming knowledge gaps, resistance from interest groups, and differing values. Robust, inclusive, evidence-based processes are thus essential to making better policies for food systems.
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22/12/2020
The devastating impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on developing countries have tested the limits, ingenuity and flexibility of development co-operation while also uncovering best practices. This 58th edition of the Development Co-operation Report draws out early insights from leaders, OECD members, experts and civil society on the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for global solidarity and international co-operation for development in 2021 and beyond. The report suggests ways forward for the international development community as a whole for bold action and systemic reform to build resilient national and international systems capable of coping with global shocks, and providing and protecting global public goods while reinforcing the fundamental building blocks for sustainable development. The annual “development co-operation at a glance” infographics showcase the latest trends in development finance for over 80 providers of development co-operation, including members of the OECD, the Development Assistance Committee, other countries and philanthropic foundations.
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16/12/2020
The least developed countries (LDCs) are the furthest from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are also likely to be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis and badly need the additional private finance that blended finance can unlock. Yet evidence shows that too little private finance is mobilised for investment in LDCs. How can this be fixed?The Blended Finance in the Least Developed Countries 2020 report is the third edition and second joint UNCDF-OECD report. It builds on UNCDF research and transactional experience, OECD data and analysis on private finance mobilized by official development finance, and a series consultations with and contributions by blended finance experts, LDC governments, UN missions, donors, civil society and research institutions. The report provides an update on the deployment of blended finance in LDCs. It also analyses its potential role in helping those countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis, and provides an Action Agenda for unlocking capital for the achievement of the SDGs in LDCs, as called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
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16/12/2020
All OECD economies are undergoing rapid population ageing, leading to more age diversity in workplaces than ever before as people are not only living longer but working longer. Greater diversity of experience, generations and skills gives employers an important opportunity to harness the talent that different age groups bring to the workplace and improve productivity and profitability. What can employers do to maximise the benefits of a multigenerational workforce? This report presents a business case for embracing greater age diversity at the workplace and debunks several myths about generational differences in work performance, attitudes and motivations towards work. It points to key employer policies and offers practical examples in three key areas to support and promote an age-inclusive workforce. This includes designing and putting in place all-age and life-stage policies covering the full span of workers careers through best practice in recruitment, retention and retirement, as well as the promotion of life-long learning and good health at work.
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