OECD Observer
The (Good) Friday fish
A catch from behind the headlines on OECD.org and beyond

No 15: Easter moving and spending; Spending on teachers; Best broccoli; Green newsletter; Egypt’s e-revolution; Rebalancing the euro area 

Easter moving and spending

Easter comes quite early this time, on 31 March; if you'd like to know why the dates for Easter move around so much from year to year, try this explanation in The Economist. As to spending, this article from the New York Post a year ago predicted that four out of five people in the US would spend over $16 billion celebrating Easter. 

Spending on teachers

Which factors determine the level of expenditure on teaching staff? This report looks at a few and is an education in itself. For instance, the higher the level of education, the higher the salary cost of teachers per student. Meanwhile, between 2000 and 2010, the salary cost of teachers per student rose in nearly all countries in primary and lower secondary education and, on average, by as much as a third in primary and a quarter in secondary.

What key trends are shaping education in 2013? This original report which can be read as an e-book, looks behind the scenes at the contexts and circumstances affecting people as they make their way ahead in the 21st century, from democracy and civic detachment to globalisation and migration, as well as health and well-being.

Best broccoli

On the subject of good health, you are what you eat, as the saying goes, and probably one of the healthiest foods you can eat is broccoli. But as with all fruit and vegetables, the simple broccoli is more complex than you might imagine. They are not all green for a start, and some are used for industrial purposes. But for consumers and trade, certain erstwhile standards have to be met, which are listed and described in this report.

Green newsletter

Still on greens, the March issue of the OECD Green Growth Newsletter is out from the OECD, with a focus on Asia and merging markets, briefs on recent environmental performance reviews of Italy and Mexico, and how business models, particularly among new, innovative firms, can help improve the fight against pollution.

Egypt’s e-revolution

Many people argue that the Arab Spring was made possible at least in part thanks to social media and other IT smart communications devices, helping people to exchange views, stay informed and organise. Now IT is helping Egypt to lead another e-revolution in public governance generally, though as this report suggests, more needs to be done.

Rebalancing the euro area

Finally, in a week that saw banks in Cyprus finally re-open, can the euro area find its balance again? Yes, says this technical economics paper, but for that to happen, Spain and Portugal would have to improve their cost competitiveness in the euro area by some 30%, while Greece would have to achieve more than twice that.

Meanwhile, did you know that, unit labour costs in the euro area have risen by about 10%, since the beginning of the financial crisis? That’s well above the OECD average. (To read exactly where that citation came from in context, load up the very neat qote.me extension on Chrome or Firefox.)

The Friday fish #15 ©OECD Observer, 29 March 2013