OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Assessing the OECD Jobs Strategy

Past Developments and Reforms

In 1994, the OECD published a set of recommendations -- known as the OECD Jobs Strategy -- to deal with high and persistent unemployment that affected many member countries. These recommendations are currently being reassessed by the OECD and this paper contributes to this process. It provides a detailed description of labour market reforms in member countries over the past ten years, together with a short overview of changes in macroeconomic policies and reforms affecting product markets. It attempts to rank countries according with their past reform efforts, using an aggregate reform intensity indicator, and analyses the link, though in a very preliminary way, between reforms and labour market performance. Overall, there is little evidence of a link between initial conditions and subsequent reform efforts, with some countries taking only modest measures despite a poor starting point, while others carrying out ambitious programs even though their initial conditions were already relatively favourable. Over the past decade, member countries have employed very diverse reform strategies, from comprehensive reforms package (Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands) -- as recommended in the initial Jobs Strategy -- to reforms more narrowly targeted on specific fields where deep action was undertaken (France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland). The intensity of reforms has differed markedly across policy fields, with more action being undertaken in areas that are more widely accepted by the population, such as active labour market policies and cuts of labour taxes. Please note that annexes are available on the Economics Department Website at: www.oecd.org/eco/Working_Papers.


Keywords: time allocation and labour supply (part-time employment, work sharing), trade unions, political economy, welfare and poverty, plant closings, wage level, compensation and labour costs, wages, public policy, government policy, structure and effect, wage level and structure, capitalist systems, unemployment insurance, severance pay, retirement policies
JEL: P16: Economic Systems / Capitalist Systems / Capitalist Systems: Political Economy; I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs; J22: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Time Allocation and Labor Supply; J51: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining / Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects; J65: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings; J26: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Retirement; Retirement Policies; J31: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials; J38: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy
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