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2005 OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2005

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2005

This 2005 edition of OECD's periodic survey of Austria's economy finds two challenges needing attention: first, fiscal peformance must be improved reducing government debt and improving fiscal federal relations and second, growth is held back by low participation of older workers. This issue's special feature focuses on innovation and education's effect on innovation.

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Fostering Productivity Growth and Innovation

This chapter proposes reforms to raise productivity growth in Austria. The contribution of business start-ups to productivity growth could be raised, through reducing administrative burdens and improving the framework conditions for the provision of risk capital, notably venture capital. Steps should also be taken to raise competition in product markets, improving competition law enforcement, liberalising regulation of the services of the liberal professions and exposing incumbents in the electricity and telecoms industries to more competition. Obstacles to structural change originating in labour market regulation should be removed. Reforms in secondary and tertiary education can improve the skills base of the economy, strengthening its capacity to reap the productivity potential of new technologies, such as ICT. While R&D spending has increased in recent years, government support for R&D can become more effective.

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