Economic Policy Reforms 2012

Going for Growth

image of Economic Policy Reforms 2012

Going for Growth is the OECD’s annual report highlighting developments in structural policies in OECD countries. It identifies structural reform priorities to boost real income for each OECD country and key emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa). The Going for Growth analysis also regularly takes stock of reform implementation in all the countries covered.

This report provides internationally comparable indicators that enable countries to assess their economic performance and structural policies in a wide range of areas. Each issue also has several thematic studies.

English Also available in: French

Structural reforms in times of crisis

The crisis has raised new policy challenges, but it has also made the necessity of structural reforms more apparent. This initial chapter of Going for Growth assesses progress that countries have made in structural reforms since the start of the crisis, covering the whole period 2007-11.The key political economy lesson emerging from the analysis is that the crisis and ensuing recession have acted as a catalyst for structural reforms, especially in OECD countries where reforms were most needed. In particular, the depth of the labour market crisis has provided an impetus for structural reforms aimed at raising labour utilisation. The need to consolidate public finances and the financial pressure arising from mushrooming sovereign debt have given another impetus to reform, with a clear acceleration of politically sensitive reforms designed to help lift potential growth, regain price competitiveness and restore fiscal sustainability, especially in some euro area countries.Going forward, priority should be given to boosting jobs in the context of ongoing fiscal consolidation. For now, there is a clear case for sheltering activation policies aimed at retraining displaced workers and encouraging return to work from fiscal consolidation efforts. And in countries that experience renewed economic set-backs it will be important to build on the lessons from the financial crisis in terms of policies that can help cushion the labour market and social impact of weak activity, such as making use of short-time working schemes. Tax reforms, not least a reduction in tax expenditures and a shift in the tax burden away from labour, could help kick-start the jobs recovery and assist fiscal consolidation. Product market reforms could also boost short-term growth, especially if implemented in sheltered sectors where the potential to quickly create jobs is relatively high, such as retail trade and professional services.

English Also available in: French


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