Focus on social challenges

This page features the latest OECD data, recommendations and policy advice regarding the impact of COVID-19 on equality, social protection, well-being, education and skills, as well as a curated collection of earlier OECD social content.

Shining the light on gender-based violence

The burden of unpaid work

A skewed AI landscape

Disrupted cancer care in Europe

Healthy online content

Addressing the pandemic's impacts on young people

Disrupted learning

COVID-19 and fragile contexts

Latest social challenges insights

social mobility

Promoting equality of opportunity


Equity in education

For a more resilient future


War in Ukraine

Tackling the policy challenges


immigrant integration

Responding to long-standing weaknesses

Policy response

2022 Year in Review

The best podcast interviews of the year


Inclusive recovery

Spotlight on an inclusive recovery


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Latin America and the Caribbean needs an ambitious and comprehensive investment agenda to embark on a stronger and more sustainable development trajectory. The 16th edition of the Latin American Economic Outlook proposes ways to make this possible through co-ordinated actions by policy makers, the private sector and international partners. It argues that to close existing investment gaps and overcome the region’s structural challenges, it is essential to scale up domestic and foreign investment. These investments should be a catalyst for better quality jobs and an upgraded production structure, harnessing the potential of LAC’s endowments and of the green and digital transitions. Better governance and information are key to promoting effective and efficient public and private investments. Public institutions are fundamental to aligning investments with national development strategies while building stronger social contracts. The report presents a series of options for financing this new investment agenda, including innovative debt instruments and a renewed role for development finance institutions. The report also highlights the importance of reinvigorated international partnerships across the investment agenda.
Skills are vital for building resilient economies and societies. By helping individuals develop a diverse range of skills and empowering them to apply these skills effectively, skills policies play a crucial role in responding to emerging threats, such as environmental degradation and harmful applications of technologies used to collect, generate, and exchange information. This edition of the Skills Outlook highlights the importance of supporting individuals in acquiring a wide range of skills, at varying levels of proficiency, to promote economic and social resilience. Additionally, the report acknowledges the role of attitudes and dispositions in enabling skills development and effective skills use. It also emphasises the need for policy makers to monitor the costs associated with policies aimed at promoting the green and digital transition, and how the transition affects inequalities. Training opportunities that respond to emerging labour market needs and efforts to facilitate their uptake can promote a just and inclusive green and digital transition. In turn, education systems that equip young people not only with skills but attitudes to manage change can ensure that the green and digital transition is sustainable in the longer term.
The 2023 edition of International Migration Outlook analyses recent developments in migration movements and the labour market inclusion of immigrants in OECD countries. It also monitors recent policy changes in migration governance and integration in OECD countries. This edition includes two special chapters on the labour market integration of migrant mothers and on fertility patterns among migrant populations in OECD countries. The Outlook also includes country notes and a detailed statistical annex.
An alarming number of women and girls become victims/survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) at least once during their lifetime. While GBV has garnered more attention from policymakers in recent years, and has become a top gender-equality priority for OECD countries, significant challenges remain in all countries. This report promotes a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of GBV by combining insights from recent OECD work with robust evidence from surveys and questionnaires conducted in OECD Member countries. It offers recommendations for a comprehensive OECD GBV Governance Framework encompassing laws and access to justice, transforming restrictive gender norms, and integrating service delivery to prevent, address and - ultimately - end this violation of human rights.
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Patients’ and citizens’ perspectives and their active engagement are critical to make health systems safer and people-centred, and are key for co-designing health services and co-producing good health with healthcare professionals, and building trust in health systems. Patients, families, caregivers and citizens can contribute towards improving patient safety at all levels from clinical, local, institutional (e.g. hospital , nursing home), community (e.g. primary care, home care) and national levels of healthcare systems. This report, the sixth in the series on the Economics of Patient Safety, covers: (i) the economic impact of patient engagement for patient safety; (ii) the results of a pilot data collection to measure patient-reported experiences of safety and; (iii) the status of initiatives on patient engagement for patient safety taken in 21 countries, which responded to a snapshot survey. It also provides recommendations for countries to enhance patient engagement for patient safety.
The digital security of communication networks is crucial to the functioning of our societies. Four trends are shaping networks, raising digital security implications: i) the increasing criticality of communication networks, ii) increased virtualisation of networks and use of cloud services, iii) a shift towards more openness in networks and iv) the role of artificial intelligence in networks. These trends bring benefits and challenges to digital security. While digital security ultimately depends on the decisions made by private actors (e.g. network operators and their suppliers), the report underlines the role governments can play to enhance the digital security of communication networks. It outlines key policy objectives and actions governments can take to incentivise the adoption of best practices and support stakeholders to reach an optimal level of digital security, ranging from light-touch to more interventionist approaches.
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Education at a Glance is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the structure, finances and performance of education systems across OECD countries and a number of accession and partner countries. More than 100 charts and tables in this publication – as well as links to much more available on the educational database – provide key information on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; access, participation and progression in education; the financial resources invested in education; and teachers, the learning environment and the organisation of schools. The 2023 edition includes a focus on vocational education and training (VET), examining participation in VET and the structure of VET programmes. This edition also includes a new chapter - Ensuring continued learning for Ukrainian refugees - which presents the results of an OECD 2023 survey that collected data on measures taken by OECD countries to integrate Ukrainian refugees into their education systems.
This paper provides novel evidence on the regional impact of immigration on native employment in a cross-country framework based on rich European Labour Force Surveys and past censuses data for 2010-2019. The paper finds a modest average impact of the rise in the share of immigrants across European regions on the employment-to-population rate of natives, but highly uneven effects over time and across workers and regions. The short-run estimates show adverse employment effects in response to immigration that nevertheless disappear in the longer run. High-school or less educated native workers experience employment losses due to immigration, whereas higher educated workers are more likely to experience employment gains. Moreover, the presence of institutions providing strict employment protection and high coverage of collective wage agreements exert a protective effect on native employment. Finally, the paper finds that regions experiencing strong growth can absorb immigrant workers, resulting in little or no effect on the native workforce, including in the short-run.
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In the ten years since the OECD published its 2013 Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being, the inclusion of evaluative, affective and eudaimonic indicators in national measurement frameworks and household surveys has grown. Country practice has converged around a standard measure of life satisfaction, however affective and eudaimonic measures remain less harmonised. This working paper combines findings from a stock take of OECD member state uptake of Guidelines recommendations with advances in the academic evidence base to highlight three focal areas for future work. Looking ahead, the OECD should prioritise (i) revisiting recommendations on affective indicators, particularly in light of recent OECD recommendations on measuring mental health; (ii) reviewing progress towards operationalising measures of eudaimonia; and (iii) creating new extended modules to measure the subjective well-being of children, to deepen advice on domain-specific life evaluation measures, and to further develop more globally inclusive measures, drawing on (for example) concepts of subjective well-being developed in Indigenous contexts and beyond western European/North American research literatures.
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This report provides an overview of the policies and procedures for addressing child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) material across the global top-50 online content-sharing services. It finds that only 10 of the 50 services define CSEA with sufficient detail to understand what is prohibited on their services, and only 20 of the services issue a transparency report on CSEA. Even among those services, there are significant variations in what behaviour is captured in their definitions, and the metrics, methodology and frequency of transparency reports differ across platforms. While good practices exist, the report reveals a fragmented response to this complex and evolving problem, which limits comparability and makes it challenging to conduct a thorough assessment of the overall impact of platforms’ efforts to combat CSEA.
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This report analyses the career options of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. It identifies policies and practices to promote diverse careers, flexible career trajectories and ultimately better-quality research and innovation across different economic and social sectors. The report presents a conceptual framework and synthesis of available data and policy information. It offers recommendations and a set of policy options to: promote engagement and interaction with employers outside academia; provide researchers with experience and skills for diverse careers; encourage valorisation of diverse career options; support career development and guidance for researchers; promote inter-sectoral mobility; and, reconfigure and support careers in academia.
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The Toolkit for Mainstreaming and Implementing Gender Equality 2023 is a practical resource to help governments, parliaments and judiciaries implement the OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life. It contains self-assessment tools to guide governments and other decision-making institutions in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their policies, mechanisms, and frameworks for gender equality, and in setting priorities for improvement. The Toolkit highlights a range of possible actions to take and pitfalls to avoid in implementing the various provisions of the Recommendation. A revision of the 2018 online Toolkit on Mainstreaming and Implementing Gender Equality, it introduces concepts such as intersectionality and the future of work; includes expanded areas such as budgeting, public procurement and infrastructure; and provides the latest lessons and good practices from OECD countries.
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What are the root causes of gender inequality? Building on the fifth edition of the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), the SIGI 2023 Global Report provides a global outlook of discriminatory social institutions, the fundamental causes of gender inequality. It reveals how formal and informal laws, social norms and practices limit women’s and girls’ rights and opportunities in all aspects of their lives. Globally, 40% of them continue to live in countries where gender-based discrimination is assessed as high or very high. The report stresses how discriminatory social institutions curtail women’s and adolescents’ fundamental access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. It also sheds light on the gendered impacts of climate change and underlines how women can play a pivotal role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. To accelerate efforts aimed at achieving SDG 5 and eliminating the underlying and structural factors that hamper women’s empowerment, the report offers concrete policy actions. It calls for a gender-transformative approach to leverage crises and challenges into windows of opportunity to establish women and men as agents of change.
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The 2023 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook examines the latest labour market developments in OECD countries. It focuses, in particular, on the evolution of labour demand and widespread shortages, as well as on wage developments in times of high inflation and related policies. It also takes stock of the current evidence on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the labour market. Progress in AI has been such that, in many areas, its outputs have become almost indistinguishable from that of humans, and the landscape continues to change quickly, as recent developments in large language models have shown. This, combined with the falling costs of developing and adopting AI systems, suggests that OECD countries may be on the verge of a technological revolution that could fundamentally change the workplace. While there are many potential benefits from AI, there are also significant risks that need to be urgently addressed, despite the uncertainty about the short- to medium-term evolution of AI. This edition investigates how to get the balance right in addressing the possible negative effects of AI on labour market outcomes while not stifling its benefits.
Over the past few years, the global economy has suffered profound shocks that have had a marked impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs. While government support protected SMEs from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, new threats have emerged. Rising geopolitical tensions and global financial risks, high inflation, tightening monetary and fiscal policies, labour shortages, high trade barriers and slowing integration into global value chains all contribute to a more challenging business environment for SMEs. Meanwhile, there is an urgent need to accelerate the contribution of SMEs and entrepreneurship to the green and digital transitions and help them navigate a changing international trade and investment landscape. Against this background, the OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2023 provides new evidence on recent trends in SME performance, changing business conditions, and policy implications. It reflects on the broad underlying theme of SME integration into a series of networks, including global production and supply-chain networks and the role of women led-businesses in international trade, knowledge and innovation networks, and skill ecosystems, as well as the main policies in place to ensure SMEs can integrate these networks and benefit from the ongoing transformations they go through. The report also contains statistical country profiles that benchmark the 38 OECD across a set of indicators.
Governments at all levels are looking for new and innovative ways to include individuals in vulnerable situations such as youth, migrants, persons with disabilities and families facing multiple challenges, in the labour market and in society more generally. This paper explores integration of employment services with other services (e.g. social, health and housing) at the local level as one promising way for governments to provide more effective support that is holistic and person-centred and be more efficient in public spending. The paper analyses different forms of local service integration, the possible benefits, and the particular roles subnational governments can play in service integration reforms – ranging from national public employment service-led reforms to more locally driven reforms. The paper also analyses the barriers to service integration and proposes future work to strengthen local service integration.
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Pay transparency policies are gaining momentum throughout the OECD. Over half of OECD countries require private sector firms to report their gender pay gap statistics regularly to stakeholders like employees, employee representatives, the government, and/or the public. Gender pay gap reporting, equal pay audits and other pay transparency policies help advance gender equality at the workplace, as these measures present up-to-date information on a firm’s gender pay gap, encourage employers to offer equal pay for work of equal value, and give individual workers and their representatives valuable insights to fight for pay equity. This report presents the most thorough stocktaking to date of gender pay gap reporting policies and evaluations across OECD countries, and offers guidance to countries interested in introducing, reforming and monitoring their pay transparency systems to promote equal pay for women and men.
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Cities across the world have been battling a housing crisis in recent decades, with many residents increasingly struggling to find affordable homes, and broader issues arising around tackling homelessness, improving housing quality, and harnessing the role of housing in climate change mitigation. This housing crisis has been exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis that saw inflation reach record highs in 2022. City mayors can take critical action through their powers over housing, land use, and infrastructure. This paper highlights the systemic issues underlying the housing crisis in cities, and offers inspiring examples of how cities in OECD countries and beyond have been addressing these challenges. It aims to inform the 6th Meeting of OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth and drive positive change towards more affordable cities and homes for all.
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This working paper proposes a methodology to monetise five aspects of employee well-being (wage inequality, being employed, excess working hours, relationships with management and job security) using theoretical and empirical frameworks drawn from welfare economics. Preliminary results highlight a large loss of welfare arising from within-firm wage inequality as well as a strong impact of working conditions on workers’ well-being. On the aggregate, suppressing the negative externalities of the firm linked to excess working hours, tensions with management and job insecurity would yield an increase in social welfare equivalent to a 25% increase in household income, representing many years of economic growth. Greater transparency on company wage distributions and working conditions is necessary to apply these methodologies to real firms.
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While fertility decline is a global phenomenon that has many causes, part of it can be explained by exposure to substances linked to reproductive toxicity that are produced and lead to human exposure through the environment and products. Authorities face challenges in regulating reprotoxic substances through actions such as bans and prohibitions, because of the difficulty in explicitly considering the economic benefits and costs of such regulations. Moreover, economic studies that show the value of reducing infertility caused by chemical exposure are not yet available. This paper is part of the series of large scale willingness to pay (WTP) studies resulting from the Surveys to elicit Willingness to pay to Avoid Chemicals related negative Health Effects (SWACHE) project that intends to improve the basis for doing cost benefit analyses of chemicals management options and environmental policies in general. The present paper details a stated preference survey estimating WTP to reduce the risk of infertility, filling an important gap in the valuation literature and addressing a need for applied benefits analysis for chemicals regulation. The SWACHE infertility survey was fielded in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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