OECD Observer
The Friday fish
A weekly catch from behind the headlines on oecd.org

No 6: This week's catch: Happy birthday, OECD Observer! Economising deficits; Putting value on bribery; Small science; e-book boom; Arab Spring, jobs and gender; HIV still kills; And hunger kills too 

Happy birthday, OECD Observer!

The Rolling Stones aren't the only ones celebrating 50 years. November also marks the 50th anniversary of the OECD Observer, the award-winning public magazine of the OECD. Flicking through the issues, from 1962 to today, is like taking a trip through modern history. Take the trip by reading on here.

Economising deficits

It's a headline topic in the daily press: many countries need to bring their deficits under control and reign in the size of their debt. But doing this can also stifle growth, which can in turn foil plans to bring the fiscal house into order. An interesting, though fairly technical paper by Łukasz Rawdanowicz suggests that this challenge may require some considerable yet painful efforts at the outset, and that governments must set reasonable targets if market conditions are delicate. Also, trying to ease the pain by giving your economy a couple more years could make matters a lot worse. Find out why here.

Putting a value on bribery

How much is bribery worth? The OECD publication Identification and Quantification of the Proceeds of Bribery estimates the size of the problem of bribery in international business transactions. This information is vital because confiscation and recovery of the proceeds derived from foreign bribery are key in the fight against corruption of public officials. This study provides a concrete look at a practice that is not only anti-competitive but detrimental to good governance and economic development. Read on…

Small science

How small is really small? A nanometre is one billionth of a metre or about 1 /50,000th the width of a human hair. A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometres thick. Today, many materials are manufactured on this scale, and these "nanomaterials" are fairly widespread. They are even found in your toothpaste. But how safe are they and do they need to be regulated? Find out about the OECD's work on nanosafety in this brochure. More…

E-book boom

Books are undergoing a massive transformation from being a physical object to something electronic, or an "e-book". And while e-book sales still make up only a small proportion of book sales (1% in most OECD countries, up to 8% in the US), consumers spent an estimated US$966 million on them in 2010. By 2015, the industry is anticipated to nearly triple to almost US$3 billion. E-read more…

Arab Spring, jobs and gender

Despite the Arab Spring, the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) continues to search for ways to strengthen the business climate and governance, bring in new investment and create jobs, not least for the young. This meeting at the OECD tackles some of the issues. More…

Gender is also a continuing challenge in the region, and the meeting was held back-to-back with the OECD-MENA Women's Business Forum Annual Meeting and Conference on Fostering Youth and Women's Employment in the MENA Region.

Healthcare spending in the Asia/Pacific region is well below the OECD average, but recent data show that countries are increasing their commitment to improve health care quality. Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2012, a joint report by the OECD, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional offices for the Western Pacific and South-East Asia, and the OECD/Korea Policy Centre,

Notable standouts in healthcare are Japan, with the lowest case fatality rates for stroke, and New Zealand, with only 3% of patients dying within 30 days of having a heart attack. More…

HIV still kills

AIDS has not gone away, on the contrary, and the latest OECD Evaluation Insight focuses on explaining the relatively poor quality of HIV prevention evaluations prior to 2008; it makes recommendations on condom programs, antiretroviral medicines, HIV testing, and reduction of HIV transmission.

And hunger kills too

Nearly one billion people are chronically short of food, and suffer from hunger and undernourishment. Most of the world's hungry are too poor to afford sufficient nutritious food. The OECD Global Forum on Agriculture held on 26 November 2012 in Paris looks at solutions, including how to raise productivity among smallholders, especially women, and to improve their resilience against shocks.

Happy birthday, OECD Observer!Economising deficitsPutting a value on briberySmall scienceE-book boomArab Spring, jobs and genderHIV still killsAnd hunger kills too  

The Friday fish #6 ©OECD Observer, 30 November 2012