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Publications & Documents


  • 8-July-2021

    English

    Employee training and firm performance - Evidence from ESF grant applications

    As work changes, firm-provided training may become more relevant. However, there is little causal evidence about the effects of training on firms. This paper studies a large training grants programme in Portugal, supported by the European Social Fund, contrasting firms that received the grants and firms that also applied but were unsuccessful. Combining several rich data sets, we compare many potential outcomes of these firms, while following them over several years both before and after the grant decision. Our difference-in-differences models estimate significant positive effects on take up (training hours and expenditure), with limited deadweight; and that such additional training led to increased sales, value added, employment, productivity, and exports (although not profits). These effects tend to be of at least 5% and, in some cases, 10% or more, and are robust in multiple dimensions.
  • 8-July-2021

    English

    Financial distress and the role of management in micro and small-sized firms

    In this paper, we focus on the managerial characteristics of micro and small-sized firms. Using linked employer-employee data on the Portuguese economy for the 2010-2018 period, we estimate the impact of management teams’ human capital on the probability of firms becoming financially distressed and their subsequent recovery. Our estimates show that the relevance of management teams’ formal education on the probability of firms becoming financially distressed depends on firms’ size and the type of education. We show that management teams’ formal education and tenure reduce the probability of micro and small-sized firms becoming financially distressed and increases the probability of their subsequent recovery. The estimates also suggest that those impacts are stronger for micro and small-sized firms. Additionally, our results show that functional experience previously acquired in other firms, namely in foreign-owned and in exporting firms and in the area of finance, may reduce the probability of micro firms becoming financially distressed. On the other hand, previous functional experience in other firms seems to have a strong and highly significant impact on increasing the odds of recovery of financially distressed firms. We conclude that policies that induce an improvement in the managerial human capital of micro and small-sized firms have significant scope to improve their financial condition, enhancing the economy’s resilience against shocks.
  • 8-July-2021

    English

    New evidence on intangibles, diffusion and productivity

    This paper presents new evidence on the impact of intangible capital on productivity dispersion within industries. It first shows that rise in productivity dispersion after 2000 is more pronounced in intangible-intensive industries; then analyses the link between intangible capital intensity and productivity dispersion both at the top and at the bottom of the productivity distribution, and in different industries. The findings suggest that industries that have experienced a stronger increase in intangible investment have also seen a steeper rise in productivity dispersion both at the top and at the bottom of the productivity distribution. While the results at the top seem to be associated with the scalability of intangible capital – which is likely to disproportionally benefit high-productivity firms and incumbents – dispersion at the bottom appears to be linked to complementarities between intangible investment and factors like digital intensity, trade openness and venture capital.
  • 8-July-2021

    English

    The return on human (STEM) capital in Belgium

    Whilst overall productivity growth is stalling, firms at the frontier are still able to capture the benefits of the newest technologies and business practices. This paper uses linked employer-employee data covering all Belgian firms over a period of almost 20 years and investigates the differences in human capital between highly productive firms and less productive firms. We find a clear positive correlation between the share of high-skilled and STEM workers in a firm's workforce and its productivity. We obtain elasticities of 0.20 to 0.70 for a firm's productivity as a function of the share of high-skilled workers. For STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) workers, of all skill levels, we find elasticities of 0.20 to 0.45. More importantly, the elasticity of STEM workers is increasing over time, whereas the elasticity of high-skilled workers is decreasing. This is possibly linked with the increasing number of tertiary education graduates and at the same time increased difficulties in filling STEM-related vacancies. Specifically, for high-skilled STEM workers in the manufacturing sector, the productivity gain can be as much as 4 times higher than the gain from hiring additional high-skilled non-STEM workers. To ensure that government efforts to increase the adoption of the latest technologies and business practices within firms lead to sustainable productivity gains, such actions should be accompanied by measures to increase the supply and mobility of human (STEM) capital. Without a proper supply of skills, firms will not be able to reap the full benefits of the digital revolution.
  • 29-June-2021

    English

    De-risking institutional investment in green infrastructure - 2021 progress update

    This policy paper catalogues tools and techniques used by public actors such as national development banks and green investment banks to mitigate project-level risks and attract private investment in infrastructure. The paper updates the dataset underlying the 2018 'Progress Update on Approaches to Mobilising Institutional Investment for Sustainable Infrastructure', to provide an expanded typology of de-risking instruments and highlight several novel approaches for mobilising institutional investment. The analysis provides development banks and other public financial institutions a nuanced view of options for targeted mobilisation efforts.
  • 28-June-2021

    English

    Workshop on access to research data from public funding: The case of marine data

    This webinar on 28 June aims to reflect on the growing importance of marine data for society and solutions to make the provision of public marine research data more sustainable. discussions will be structured around sustainability issues for data infrastructure (particularly funding aspects) and the importance of International co-operation for access to research data.

    Related Documents
  • 28-June-2021

    English

    OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2021

    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs have been hit hard during the COVID-19 crisis. Policy responses were quick and unprecedented, helping cushion the blow and maintain most SMEs and entrepreneurs afloat. Despite the magnitude of the shock, available data so far point to sustained start-ups creation, no wave of bankruptcies, and an impulse to innovation in most OECD countries. However, government support has been less effective at reaching the self-employed, smaller and younger firms, women, and entrepreneurs from minorities. Countries were not all even in their capacity to support SMEs either. As vaccine campaigns roll out and economic prospects brighten, governments have to take the turn of a crisis exit and create the conditions to build back better. The OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2021 brings new evidence on the impact of the crisis and policy responses on SMEs and entrepreneurs. It reflects on longer-term issues, such as SME indebtedness or SME role in more resilient supply chains or innovation diffusion. The report contains country profiles that benchmark impact, factors of vulnerability, and sources of resilience in OECD countries, and give a policy spotlight on liquidity support and recovery plans for SMEs.
  • 28-June-2021

    English

    Targeting R&D intensity in Finnish innovation policy

    Finland has been setting research and development (R&D) intensity targets for almost 50 years. This paper explores the Finnish national policy experience in fostering public and private investments in R&D. Three key insights are the following: a) a systemic and integrated policy approach needs an impactful co-ordination and governance mechanism; b) a balanced innovation system with well-working joint public-private partnership efforts and mechanisms will do better in absorbing shocks; c) a key strategy to absorb shocks to the economy and society is to invest in long-term capabilities. This study also provides an overview of the factors influencing the level of R&D intensity. The current 4% target to be reached by 2030 was set in 2019 but thus far relatively few policy actions have been introduced to operationalise it. With these dynamics and uncertainty, it remains to be seen if the target will be reached by 2030.
  • 28-June-2021

    English

    Measuring the AI content of government-funded R&D projects - A proof of concept for the OECD Fundstat initiative

    This report presents the results of a proof of concept for a new analytical infrastructure ('Fundstat') for analysing government funding of R&D at the project level, exploiting the wealth of text-based information about funded projects. Reflecting the growth in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and the OECD Council Recommendation on AI’s emphasis on R&D investment, the report focuses on analysing government investments into AI-related R&D. Using text mining tools, it documents the creation of a list of key terms used to identify AI-related R&D projects contained in 13 funding databases from eight OECD countries and the EU, provides estimates for the total number and volume of government R&D funding, and characterises their AI funding portfolio. The methods and findings developed in this study also serve as a prototype for a new distributed mechanism capable of measuring and analysing government R&D support across key OECD priority areas and topics.
  • 28-June-2021

    English

    Tools for trustworthy AI - A framework to compare implementation tools for trustworthy AI systems

    As artificial intelligence (AI) advances across economies and societies, stakeholder communities are actively exploring how best to encourage the design, development, deployment and use of AI that is human-centred and trustworthy. This report presents a framework for comparing tools and practices to implement trustworthy AI systems as set out in the OECD AI Principles. The framework aims to help collect, structure and share information, knowledge and lessons learned to date on tools, practices and approaches for implementing trustworthy AI. As such, it provides a way to compare tools in different use contexts. The framework will serve as the basis for the development of an interactive, publicly available database on the OECD.AI Policy Observatory. This report informs ongoing OECD work towards helping policy makers and other stakeholders implement the OECD AI Principles in practice.
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