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Economic Policy Reforms 2011

Going for Growth

image of Economic Policy Reforms 2011

The global recovery from the deepest recession since the Great Depression is under way, but it remains overly dependent on macroeconomic policy stimulus and has not yet managed to significantly reduce high and persistent unemployment in many countries. Going for Growth 2011 highlights the structural reforms needed to restore long-term growth in the wake of the crisis. For each OECD country and, for the first time, six key emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa), five reform priorities are identified that would be most effective in delivering sustained growth over the next decade. The analysis shows that many of these reforms could also assist much-needed fiscal consolidation and contribute to reducing global current account imbalances.

The internationally comparable indicators provided here enable countries to assess their economic performance and structural policies in a wide range of areas.

In addition, this issue contains three analytical chapters covering housing policies, the efficiency of health care systems and the links between structural policies and current account imbalances.

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A New Look at OECD Health Care Systems: Typology, Efficiency and Policies

Rising health care spending is putting pressure on government budgets. Governments will have to make their health care systems more efficient if they are to maintain quality of care without putting further stress on public finances. The OECD has assembled new comparative data on health policies and health care system efficiency for its member countries. These show that all countries surveyed can improve the effectiveness of their health care spending. If all countries were to become as efficient as the best performers, life expectancy at birth could be raised by more than two years on average across the OECD, without increasing health care spending. There is no single type of health care system that performs systematically better in delivering cost-effective health care, as both market-based and more centralised command-and-control systems have strengths and weaknesses. It seems to be less the type of system that matters, but rather how it is managed. Policy makers should aim for policy coherence by adopting best practices from other health care systems and tailoring them to their own circumstances. Nevertheless, the international comparison highlights a number of sources of potential efficiency gains, such as from improving to co-ordination of the bodies involved in health care management, strengthening gate-keeping, increasing out-of-pocket payments, enhancing information on quality and prices, reforming provider payment schemes or adjusting regulations concerning hospital workforce and equipment. By improving the efficiency of the health care system, public spending savings would be large, approaching 2% of GDP on average across the OECD.

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