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2017 OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2017

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2017

Austria is a stable and wealthy economy and growth has picked up following the 2016 tax reform and the recovery of export demand. Employment has expanded, driven by rising participation of women and elderly and by immigration, although hours worked per worker have declined. Nonetheless, like in most OECD countries, productivity has slowed. Boosting potential growth requires reforms in a broad range of areas.

Austria’s transition to a digital economy and society is progressing but is slower than in the most advanced economies. A whole-of-government approach should help embrace change and facilitate the flourishing of innovative businesses, work practices and lifestyles throughout Austria. Digitalisation will redesign production processes and alter the relationships between work and leisure, capital and labour, the rich and the poor, the skilled and the unskilled. Under the aegis of the “Digital Roadmap” they issued earlier in 2017, policy makers will need to ensure equality of opportunities in the race with technology, and find the appropriate level of redistribution of the gains associated with digitalisation to foster social cohesion.

SPECIAL FEATURES: DIFFUSING DIGITAL INNOVATIONS; LABOUR MARKETS IN THE DIGITAL ERA

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Inclusive labour markets in the digital era

Digitalisation is one of the megatrends affecting societies and labour markets, alongside demographic change and globalisation. The fourth industrial revolution will redesign production processes and alter the relationships between work and leisure, capital and labour, the rich and the poor, the skilled and the unskilled. The degree of disruption induced by the technological transformation ahead largely depends on the policy framework. Digitalisation can lead to anything between soaring inequalities and widespread improvements of living and working conditions. Two main questions arise for policy makers: how to ensure equality of opportunities in the race with technology and how to find the appropriate level of redistribution of the gains associated with digitalisation to preserve social cohesion. Against this backdrop, this chapter will analyse the technology-induced transformation of labour markets, argue for a new social contract and discuss how the provision and use of skills need to adapt to the digital work environment.

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