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Economic Policy Reforms 2005

Going for Growth

image of Economic Policy Reforms 2005
Economic Policy Reforms: Going for Growth is a new annual periodical – intended as a complement to the OECD Economic Outlook and OECD Economic Surveys – which gives an overview of structural policy developments in OECD countries.  The report pinpoints structural policy priorities to enhance GDP per capita for all member countries, and ways to improve labour productivity and utilisation are identified on the basis of cross-country comparisons of policy settings.

A chapter presenting key structural policy indicators (including labour costs and taxation, unemployment and disability benefits, product market regulation, trade barriers, educational attainment and public investment) is followed by a comprehensive Country Notes chapter, consisting of individual analytical sections for each member country and the European Union.

Each issue of Economic Policy Reforms: Going for Growth will also present several in-depth thematic studies. The topics covered in this first issue are: product market regulation, retirement effects of old-age pension and early retirement schemes, female labour force participation and the long-term budgetary implications of tax-favoured retirement saving plans.

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Product Market Regulation in OECD Countries

From 1998 to 2003

This chapter describes trends in product market regulation in OECD countries over the period 1998 to 2003. The analysis is based on summary indicators of product market regulation that measure the degree to which policies promote or inhibit competition. The results suggest that regulatory impediments to competition have declined in all OECD countries in recent years. Regulation has also become more homogenous across the OECD as countries with relatively restrictive policies have, in some areas, moved towards the regulatory environment of the more liberalised countries. Within some countries product market policies have become more consistent across different regulatory provisions, although relatively restrictive countries still tend to have a more heterogeneous approach to competition. In general, domestic barriers to competition tend to be higher in countries that have higher barriers to foreign trade and investment, and high levels of state control and barriers to competition tend to be associated with cumbersome administrative procedures and policies that reduce the adaptability of labour markets. Notwithstanding recent progress in product market reform, a “hard core” of regulations that impede competition still persists in virtually all countries.

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