OECD Observer
To have and have more: Wealth management and the growth of global inequality

When it comes to global wealth inequality, we know how bad it’s getting, but what do we know about who is responsible? When Oxfam reports that 1% of the world population owns more than the other 99% put together, the question arises: who or what is making the rich so much richer, and the poor so much poorer?

The digital disruption of productivity

The UK’s tallest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland. Recently, it became one metre taller, standing now at 1 345m rather than 1 344m above sea level. Of course, the mountain did not actually grow. Rather, the team of Ordnance Survey experts who re-measured it for the first time since 1949 were able to do so more accurately because of improvements in technology, and specifically through the use of GPS.

innovation, ireland, oecd, it, R&D, productivity
Innovating Ireland

Ireland has well-known firms such as Guinness for beer and beverages, Ryanair for air travel, and Smurfit Kappa for paper and packaging, not to mention dairies, beef and fish. However, for a small country that has turned itself into a thriving pharmaceutical and IT hub, Ireland is not awash with global brands in these sectors. Compare with, say, Finland which has Nokia, or Sweden which has Ericsson. True, there is Airtricity, but that innovative wind energy firm now belongs to an overseas company.

productivity, oecd, economy, labour productivity, work, multi-factor productivity, naec, joshua farley
Productivity conundrum

Since the economic crisis, productivity growth in OECD countries has continued to slow. Labour productivity rose by 3.7% in OECD countries from 2007 to 2013, and even fell in some countries, such as the Netherlands and the UK (see graph). A Bank of France study reported in this magazine in 2014 showed an “impressive slowdown” in developed countries’ productivity growth since the start of the 2000s, and illustrates the ebbs and flows of US, euro area, Japanese, and UK productivity from 1890 to 2012.

oecd, jobs, economy, work
It's a gig, but is it a job?

Time was when the only people who had gigs were long-haired types who stayed in bed till noon and played in bars till dawn. These days, it seems, everyone’s hopping from one gig to another–drivers, software designers, cleaners. Bye-bye full-time work, hello freedom and flexibility. Well, maybe…

angel gurria, oecd, ireland
Sustaining Ireland’s recovery for all

When I launched the OECD’s 2011 Economic Survey of Ireland, the Irish economy was in the depths of a deep recession. Two years ago, the clouds were beginning to clear. Today, I am delighted to see how far and how quickly the country has bounced back.

ireland, claire keane, oecd, crisis, recovery, jobs, employment
From crisis to recovery: Overcoming scars and social costs

The economic and financial crisis has posed a stern test of many countries, though in Ireland, which enjoyed a boom for over a decade, the challenge was particularly stark. The scars are still there, but so are opportunities. Well-targeted, sensitive social policies can yield positive results. 

ireland, globalisation, david haugh, oecd, economy, recession
Ireland’s economy: Still riding the globalisation wave

The recession in Ireland was long and deep, but has been followed by a marked recovery. Why is the expansion in Ireland so strong?

microsoft, innovation, ireland
OECD Observer roundtable: Ireland's innovation challenge
Ireland has bounced back from the crisis to become one of the OECD’s most dynamic economies. A key help has been the continued inflow of capital investment from abroad, allowing the country to bolster its position as a European hub for the likes of IT, finance, pharmaceuticals, engineering, and more. Ireland has been an attractive destination for global high-value investments for decades, yet its own innovation system lags that of other similar-sized OECD countries. Closing the gap would strengthen the country’s long-term outlook, but how can this be done?

e-commerce, internet, oecd, privacy, security
Buying into e-commerce

A decade or so ago e-commerce was a buzzword, but today it has become a routine part of life. Or has it? About half of individuals in OECD countries bought products online in 2014, up from 31% in 2007. The increase in online purchases was particularly marked in Belgium, Estonia, France, the Slovak Republic and Switzerland. Today, more than three-quarters of adults order online in Denmark, Norway and the UK. However, only 10% of adults bought online in Chile and Turkey, and less than 5% in Colombia and Mexico. 

information jobs, information industries, communications, oecd
The ups and downs of information jobs

Publishing, telecommunications, the audiovisual industry and broadcasting taken together are an important source of value-added growth in OECD countries despite accounting for less than 4% of total OECD employment. This “information sector” covers a wide range of activities, from computer and optical manufacturing to communications services. 

michael forbes, oecd, ireland
Ireland’s economy and the OECD: From bricks to brains

Nothing has demonstrated Ireland’s shift to modern economic policies more concretely than our decision to become a founder member of the OECD in 1961. Since then the OECD has been a trusted partner in our economic and social policy evolution.

economy, william white, oecd
False beliefs and unhappy endings

Could central bank policy be making the economy more vulnerable? A fundamental rethink is in order if worse outcomes are to be avoided.

economy, ireland, OECD, Save our seafront, dublin airport
The capacity conundrum

A growing economy means increased need for office space, housing and infrastructure. Can Ireland meet that demand? 

ireland, blue economy, maritime, aquaculture, oecd
Casting off towards a blue future

Open any atlas, look at any globe, and Ireland appears as a small green island on Europe’s Atlantic rim. In fact, Ireland’s territory is almost the size of Germany, and mostly blue.

Dublin, economy, innovation, investment, ireland, IT, silicon docks
Banking on Silicon Docks
michael noonan, ireland, economy
Ireland’s economy: A solid recovery

The recovery in the Irish economy is well underway. Determined policy responses to the fiscal, economic and financial sector challenges Ireland faced are now bearing fruit, with Ireland expected to be among the fastest-growing economies in the OECD this year and next. 

entrepreneurs, oecd, jobs
Missing entrepreneurs

Becoming an entrepreneur has become increasingly popular since the economic meltdown of 2008, not least in Europe.

work, jobs, stefano scarpetta, oecd
What future for work?

For all the signs of improving labour market conditions in many OECD countries, there is still a substantial way to go to close the jobs gap caused by the Great Recession of 2008-09. Unemployment will continue to fall in most countries, but by the end of 2017, it will still be well above pre-crisis levels in a number of them. 

Climate change: Towards clean energy investment and supporting disclosure

Achieving the transition to a low-carbon economy to meet the 2ºC target requires shifting investment away from carbon-intensive options and towards low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure assets and technology. Over US$90 trillion will be needed in the next 15 years to meet global infrastructure needs across transport, energy and water systems, irrespective of climate change, according to the Global Commission on Climate and the Economy. But as the commission estimates, making these infrastructure investments “low-carbon” will impose additional costs of only 4.5% relative to business-as-usual, with benefits such as reduced local air pollution, improved energy security and lower traffic congestion. 

circular economy, ressourcerie créative
A natural capital for a circular economy

Over the last century, resource extraction from non-renewable stocks has grown while extraction from renewable stocks has declined, reflecting the shift in the global economy base from agriculture to industry. 

john evans, jobs, cop21, climate, climate change, planet
There are no jobs on a dead planet

A structural shift to a low-carbon economy will entail gains in jobs, but also losses, and the first jobs to be lost are not those that you think. A just energy transition will be needed, but how? 

joshua farley, anthropocene, environment, economy
Planetary limits, social needs and economics for the Anthropocene

The human economy is a physical system embedded in society, which itself is embedded in a finite global ecosystem. The primary goal of the economy should be to meet basic human and social needs, now and in the future, without degrading the global ecosystem services upon which all life depends. How can this be done?

#45 On profit shifting
#22 Frankie's conclusion
economy, oecd
Unsettled economic picture

Economic recovery is holding up in the world’s advanced economies, but the outlook is unsettled due to stalling world trade and worsening financial markets particularly in major emerging economies, according to the OECD’s latest briefing on the economic outlook issued 16 September.

When businesses are bad, who you gonna call?
external financial flows Africa, development
Shifting landscape in African development finance

The financial landscape has changed considerably in Africa since 2000. Private external flows in the form of investment and remittances now drive growth in external finance, according to the African Economic Outlook 2015. Foreign investments are expected to reach US$73.5 billion in 2015, underpinned by increasing greenfield investment from China, India and South Africa.

climate change
Investing in green energy

A warming planet and a flat world economy have propelled the issue of investment in clean energy to the top of the policy agenda. The question has become all the more crucial in view of the landmark global summit on climate change to be held in Paris in December 2015. 

Improving Nigerian investment

Since democracy was restored in 1999, Nigeria has engaged in ambitious reforms towards greater market liberalisation and economic openness. By far the most populous country of the continent–with more than 170 million people Nigeria is home to 18% of Africa’s population–it now claims to be the largest
economy in Africa, with an estimated nominal GDP of US$510 billion. Its GDP growth has never been below 5% since 2003, and since 2009, it has become the preferred destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa, ahead of South Africa.