Economic Policy Reforms 2008

Going for Growth

image of Economic Policy Reforms 2008

Across the OECD, governments are seeking to undertake structural reforms to strengthen economic growth. Going for Growth 2008 takes stock of recent progress in implementing policy reforms to improve labour productivity and utilisation that were identified as priorities in the 2007 edition. The set of internationally comparable indicators provided here enables countries to assess their economic performance and structural policies in a broad range of areas. In addition, this issue contains five analytical chapters covering:

the variation in working hours across OECD countries, the scope to improve performance of primary and secondary schools in OECD countries, how policies can enhance investment in higher education, how geographical factors affect GDP per capita, and the impact of domestic regulation on international trade in services.

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Economic Geography and GDP per Capita

Distance to global markets can influence GDP per capita through its impact on trade flows, which in turn affect the efficiency of domestic business. Nevertheless, it has been argued that the world is “becoming flatter” – the so-called “death of distance” hypothesis. This chapter reports new transport cost data that show there is little evidence that the cost of transporting goods has declined over time relative to their price. It also suggests that distance to markets has significantly depressed living standards in remote OECD countries and raised them in centrally located countries. In addition, it argues that GDP per capita has been boosted in a few OECD countries by large natural resource endowments.

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