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How to get it right

Austerity programmes to restore order to public finances can add to the woes of already struggling economies, leading to more job losses and social hardship. But there are ways for governments to put their fiscal houses in order, while supporting growth and reducing income inequality at the same time.

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What the BEPS are we talking about?

Bloomberg’s “The Great Corporate Tax Dodge”, The New York Times’ “But Nobody Pays That” and the Guardian’s “Tax Gap”: these are some examples of the wide media attention given to global tax issues in recent weeks. The public is understandably becoming alarmed, since what is at issue is how profit shifting by multinationals is eroding their national tax bases. OECD initiatives on tax policy can help.

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The new performance frontier

By helping emphasise the importance of a “better life” as a key component of societal progress, the OECD has made considerable efforts in recent years to help promote a school of thought that places people’s well-being at the heart of economic growth. After examining the issue of growth and productivity gains, and recognising the question of the environmental cost of our economic activity, the time has come to turn our attention to another area that is equally crucial: fostering a more human economy.

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“Made in the world”

The new OECD/WTO database on trade in value-added is not just about changing the numbers, but policymakers’ approaches too. It gives trade fresh importance, and a place high on the agenda of the UK’s G8 presidency. 

Education for policymakers

Education is one OECD department that has embraced the information revolution.

Take a walk

Cities that want healthier populations should get them moving. In the US, where urban sprawl and personal motorised vehicle are prevalent, walking makes up only 8.6% of all trips, by far the lowest proportion in our chart.

Energy efficiency: A true alternative

The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2012 was released 12 November. Though oil prices are at historic highs, the future for energy is promising, provided the right policies are in place. 

Study abroad

More students are looking beyond their borders to give their education a competitive edge. 

Restart-up?

Start-up rates in OECD countries are slowly edging back to their pre-crisis levels, but not all countries have seen significant acceleration in new businesses, according to Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2012

Resurrecting industrial policy

Can governments play a positive role in boosting their countries’ industrial sectors?

All on board: Policies for inclusive growth and jobs

This is the Ministerial Council Statement adopted at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 24 May 2012. 

Saving retirement

Over the next 50 years, life expectancy at birth is expected to increase by more than seven years in developed economies. While this is good news for many, it will also be a strain on pension systems. To be sure, governments will need to address increasing life expectancy by raising retirement ages gradually. This is a key conclusion of the first Pensions Outlook 2012, a new OECD report which looks at the future of pensions.

Teaching the teachers

How can teachers know what–let alone how–to teach when the world is changing so quickly around us? 

The OECD Green Growth Strategy: Key lessons so far

Can a durable recovery come from greener growth? That largely depends on the policies. In 2011 the OECD will deliver its Green Growth Strategy. Here are some early pointers.

Sailing into the future

Innovation is not just about new gadgets, but also about using old technologies in new and improved ways. Sails are a case in point, as SkySails GmbH & Co. KG explains.

Towards smarter supply chains

Innovation in organisation and management will be needed if sectors are to adjust to new, oil-challenged realities. Supply chains will evolve as a result, notably in transport.

Transport innovations

“The Red Arrow”, a poem by Paul Durcan, an Irish poet, opens with the line “In the history of transport–is there any other?” Anyone looking at innovation in transport would do well to consider this line. Is history really the history of transport, more than, say, the history of wars and kings, as some would have it? It is a tempting proposition.

Taxes for innovation

The tax system can be a powerful policy instrument for spurring innovation. Here is how.

Growing local

Managing local ecosystems can help create jobs and spur sustainable economic growth.

Why markets need governments

The recent economic meltdown was at root not a failure of character or competence, but a failure of ideas.

Biofuels: A second chance

As biofuel production grew fourfold from 2000 to 2008, criticism of the industry seemed to increase nearly as dramatically. Production of these transport fuels, which are based on food crops such as grains, sugar cane and vegetable oils, competes with food crops and drives up food prices, experts argue. Also, from land-clearance needed for cultivation, production and use, these biofuels may actually increase, rather than reduce, greenhouse gas emissions.

Mind the gap

More women go to work today than 40 years ago, but their pay has not kept pace with men’s. Some 58% of women on average in the OECD area worked in 2008, up from 45% in 1970, ranging from 70% of women in the Nordic countries to less than 50% in Greece, Italy, Mexico and Turkey. Indeed, with fewer women staying at home, dual-earner families are now commonplace in most OECD countries; only in Japan, Mexico and Turkey are single-income families more common. However, men are often still the main earners in dual-earner families because so many women work part-time and for lower wages than their husbands. In the Netherlands, a relatively egalitarian country, 60% of women work part time, compared with 16% of men.

Putting women in their right place

Has gender equality improved since International Women’s Day was first launched a century ago? The answers heard during this year’s global events on 8 March were mixed. Yes, progress has been made, but discrimination continues everywhere, which not only harms women but holds back society’s potential too.

Biofuels: Great green hope?

Once hailed as the imminent successor to fossil fuels, biofuels are hitting some rough patches. Is it time to apply the brakes? 

Any collar you want

When the OECD was mandated to develop a Green Growth Strategy this June, ministers specifically referred to the "green jobs" that such a strategy would support. But what exactly are "green jobs"?

Saving energy

Environmental policies can change people’s daily habits, as a new OECD survey shows.

Setting the standards and building confidence

Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD

When leaders of government, international organisations and civil society from around the world gather for critical discussions at the OECD summit meetings in Paris this June, one question will dominate the agenda: Is enough being done to restore confidence and long-term growth, and break the grip of the worst global crisis of our times?

Green convertibles

Pressure is mounting to arrest climate change, so it's hardly surprising that people around the world are being urged to use public transportation. After all, an overall strategy that includes getting people to give up their trucks and cars to use electric trolley buses, tramways and rail can help make a real dent in pollution, traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. But try telling that to Australians living in the outback, long miles from the nearest bus station. Even most Japanese, who have access to some of the world's best high-speed rail links and urban mass transit, own some type of private vehicle.

A smaller world?

The growth of the information superhighway and the widespread use of advanced transport technology have led some to postulate that we are now witnessing what could be called the “end of geography,” and the “death of distance”.

Towards a new departure

Two decades ago, when the first Rio Earth Summit took place in 1992, the most advanced economies were in an economic downturn. It was not as severe as the crisis many countries have endured since 2008, but asset bubbles had burst, unemployment had risen and recovery seemed a remote prospect.