Marché du travail, capital humain et inégalités

The political economy of reform: lessons from pensions, product markets and labour markets in ten OECD countries


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The aim of this study is to identify political economy lessons that may be of use to policy-makers seeking to design, adopt and implement structural reforms. Many of the political economy factors that facilitate or hinder economic reform have already been examined in econometric work by the OECD Economics Department. The present study builds on this work, adopting an inductive approach, based on twenty case studies of attempts to adopt and implement structural reforms in three domains, pensions, labour-markets and product-market regulation, in an effort to explore more deeply some of the econometric findings and their implications, and also to examine factors that may be extremely difficult to quantify or code for inclusion in regression analyses. The study employs a "focused comparison" approach to case-study research, which basically entails asking the same questions across a substantial number of cases in order to discern similarities among them that suggest possible generalisations. The comparative case-study approach does not permit the same the level of formal verification as may be achieved with econometric methods, but it facilitates more detailed study of the context-dependent nature of certain relationships among variables and makes it easier to trace the links between possible causes and observed outcomes in order to assess whether the causal relationships implied by a hypothesis are evident in the sequence of events as they unfold.
See also: Principal messages of the study
Presentation by William Tompson: The political economy of reform: Lessons from pensions, product markets and labour markets in ten OECD countries


Further reading

Reform beyond the crisis, October 2009

Economic Policy Reforms 2009: Going for Growth

Jens Høj, Vincenzo Galasso, Giuseppe Nicoletti and Thai-Thanh Dang, "The Political Economy of Structural Reform: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries", OECD Economics Department Working Paper No. 501, July 2006

Romain Duval and Jorgen Elmeskov, "The Effects of EMU on Structural Reforms in Labour and Product Markets", OECD Economics Department Working Paper No. 438, July 2005


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