OECD Economic Surveys: Denmark

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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Danish economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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OECD Economic Surveys: Denmark 2009

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05 nov 2009
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9789264076563 (PDF) ; 9789264076556 (imprimé)

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OECD's periodic review of Denmark's economy.  This issue includes chapters covering the recent developments and policies to overcome the crisis, the decline in productivity growth, and human capital.
Egalement disponible en: Français
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  • Executive summary
    The Danish economy has been suffering during the global crisis but beyond the projected cyclical recovery it will need to restore sustained robust growth. While the level of national income is high, the gap vis-à-vis the leading OECD countries has widened somewhat over the past decade. GDP gains have been driven primarily by rising labour utilisation, related to the evolution of the "flexicurity" model, with increases in both the share of the population in work and average hours worked. At the same time, however, productivity has been slowing down.
  • Assessment and recommendations
    The Danish economy has not escaped the global financial and economic crisis. The deterioration in financial conditions and collapse of world trade, along with the ending of the property boom, have all hit Denmark hard, although GDP has not fallen as much as in some neighbouring countries. Unemployment is now on the rise, providing the first hard test of the "flexicurity" model, which to date has operated primarily in better times. With labour utilisation already high, though needing to improve further, the key here is boosting productivity, the Achilles heel of the Danish economy over the recent past. This will require maintaining the traditional strengths in the economy, described below, as well as pursuing an agenda focussed on productivity-enhancing reforms in education and the business sector.
  • Denmark: the crisis and beyond
    The Danish economy has been hit by the global economic crisis and is going through a deep and protracted recession. Fortunately, strong policy frameworks mean that Denmark is well placed to steer through the worst downturn in forty years. The fiscal position is comparatively strong and sizeable fiscal stimulus is already working its way through, supplementing strong automatic stabilisers. Labour market policies, including a strong focus on activation of the unemployed, should help employment recover quickly as the economy starts to grow again. However, the depth of the recession is likely to have medium-term consequences for the Danish economy via higher structural unemployment, reduced capital accumulation and possibly lower innovative activity. This chapter first briefly situates Denmark’s longer-run economic performance. It then reviews developments in financial markets and their implications for the real economy. Next, it turns to the likely consequences of the recession on medium-term growth and points to the financial, fiscal and labour market policies required to overcome the recession and minimise its adverse long-term consequences.
  • Why has productivity growth declined?
    Labour productivity decelerated markedly over the 1990s and into the current decade. One reason is the slowdown in capital deepening related to the trend increase in employment. Greater inclusion in the labour market of workers with lower-than-average productivity may also have contributed. However, these factors do not account for the observed reduction in total factor productivity (TFP) growth. The TFP slowdown is puzzling in light of Denmark’s comparatively productivityfriendly policies and institutions. The financial crisis is likely to hold back productivity growth over the medium run, through the pace of capital deepening and, possibly, through lower investment in R&D and innovation. This chapter analyses the slowdown in productivity growth and reviews the policies that could help boost it in the future.
  • Human capital: key to higher productivity
    Human capital is a major determinant of growth in productivity and national incomes. Adopting new technologies requires a skilled workforce with capacity to adjust. In this regard, Denmark is in a relatively strong position, with gradual improvements in school outcomes and ample provisions for life-long learning. However, home-grown talent may not be sufficient for Denmark to remain a good location for firms wanting to be at the global cutting edge. This chapter first reviews labour market outcomes to assess trends in skill supply and demand. Thereafter it goes through the key policy issues, covering: compulsory education, where learning outcomes can still improve; upper secondary education, where completion rates must rise to avoid future labour market exclusion; and tertiary education, whose supply of top talent seems not to be keeping pace with demand.
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