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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Explaining Differences in Hours Worked across OECD Countries

Working hours vary widely across OECD countries, and these differences account for a sizeable fraction of the gap in GDP-per-capita levels between Europe and the United States. Views differ widely about the respective roles of taxes, working-time and other regulations, and preferences in influencing working hours. This chapter examines the impact of various policy levers in explaining differences in hours worked, finding in particular that the weekly hours worked by women are sensitive to marginal tax wedges. In contrast, men’s working hours are influenced more by working-time and other regulations. Differences in leave entitlements account to an important extent for a shorter working year in Europe than elsewhere in the OECD area.

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