Economic surveys and country surveillance

About Economic Surveys and the EDRC



How often is an Economic Survey published?

An Economic Survey is published every 18-24 months for each OECD member country and for key partner countries such as China, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil. There are also Surveys of the European Union and the Euro Area. 

What is the role of the EDRC?

The Economic Surveys and the work of the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC) have evolved since the creation of the OECD in 1961 when the Surveys focused on short-term macroeconomic developments. Currently, the focus is mostly on policies having a potential to improve the economy’s long-run performance. This involves a wide range of policy areas including labour markets, competition, innovation, human capital, financial markets, sustainable development, social security, taxation, health care and public spending. The hallmark of Economic Surveys is to clarify links between structural policies in these areas and macroeconomic performance. The functioning of housing markets, for example, matters not only for where and how people live, but also for macroeconomic stability and the effects of monetary policy. And to understand the challenges posed by population ageing, it is necessary to analyse labour markets, health care spending and pension systems in close connection with the macroeconomics of public finance sustainability and the economy’s growth potential.

What is the role of the EDRC Bureau and extended bureau?

The EDRC bureau consists of the EDRC Chair and the two Vice Chairs while the extended bureau consists of the bureau and six additional committee members. The members of the bureau and extended bureau are elected annually. The bureau and extended bureau meets to discuss the ongoing business of the Committee and to prepare proposals for the EDRC. Usually meetings takes place a couple of times per year. Meetings of the extended bureau are normally open to all members of the EDRC.


How is the Survey launched?

Once the draft Economic Survey has gone through the peer review and brought in line with the views expressed during the EDRC meeting it is ready for publication. Usually the public release takes place about 6 to 8 weeks after the EDRC meeting. The Survey is most often released by the Secretary General, the Chief Economist or a Director at a public press event in the member country. At this event the Survey’s key policy recommedations are presented to key stakeholders including top government officials, journalists and academics. The Secretary General, the Chief Economist or the Director also meet with top government officals on a bilateral basis to discuss the insights from the Survey. Sometimes after the public press event a technical seminar is held by the Secretariat to present the Survey’s findings in more detail. At the day of the release, an OECD webpage with a link to the Economic Survey and related material will be available.



What are the key features of an Economic Survey?

Each Economic Survey starts with a one-page executive summary followed by the assessment and recommendations which contain the conclusions of the Survey. Thereafter each Economic Survey comprises a number of more detailed chapters. For Surveys published since autumn 2003, chapter 1 sets the scene by identifying the main economic challenges faced by the country. The subsequent chapters analyse each of these challenges in depth as a basis for the Survey’s assessment and recommendations for policy initiatives to improve economic performance.

The assessment and recommendations section is central to the peer review taking place in the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC). This committee has one member from each OECD country plus the European Commission, and the final Survey reflects the OECD countries’ joint conclusions, being published under the responsibility of the whole committee. Two EDRC members lead each examination and often draw in experts from their governments or Delegations. The examined country is represented by a delegation of high-level officials from across government departments.


How is the economic Survey prepared?

The draft Economic Survey is prepared by the OECD secretariat starting about one year before the final Survey is published. The work is carried out by a team consisting of two economists, one statistician and one assistant, in co-operation with additional specialists, and supervised by a head of division. The desk is also responsible for preparing the semi-annual Economic Outlook for the country and interacts with the cross-country analysis undertaken by the Economics Department and other parts of the OECD. This ensures that the Economic Surveys present state-of-the-art policy analysis on a wide range of topics. At an early stage, the team from the OECD secretariat visits the country and meets with a wide range of government officials, academics, social partners and other experts to collect information. Later on, the same team but now headed by the Chief Economist or a Director goes on the policy mission to discuss the secretariat’s tentative conclusions with top policy makers, such as the Minister of Finance, top government officials, the central bank and also labour unions and business confederations.






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