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2013 OECD Economic Surveys: Switzerland 2013

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Switzerland 2013

OECD's 2013 survey of the Swiss economy examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Its special chapters cover long-term growth and women's role in the economy.

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Policies for sustainable long-term growth

Switzerland has a well performing economy that has relied on utilising its human and physical capital resources extensively in order to maintain a high standard of living. Moreover, with a strong budgetary position and low public debt, it is well positioned to meet the challenge of achieving sustainable long-run growth. The outward-looking focus of the economy brings dynamism. However, labour productivity growth has lagged that of peer countries over recent decades and the level of multifactor productivity is well inside the international frontier. The lack of competition in the domestic sector remains a considerable barrier for growth, while trade intensity could be improved. Innovation and entrepreneurship are also areas in which Switzerland has a mixed record. While there is a high level of spending on research and development by both business and government and of patent and trademark activity by Swiss-based firms, entrepreneurship is lagging, with low numbers of start-ups and significant administrative barriers to business formation. Policies need to be refined to smooth the way for small, high-growth enterprises to bring to market new products and services, and to create jobs. In the long term Switzerland is expected to continue to rely on a growing population to drive growth, most of which will take the form of immigrants. While, the labour market integration for immigrants in Switzerland is highly favourable by international comparison, measures need to be reinforced to fully utilise the entire pool of available labour. In particular, this means putting in place measures that improve the educational performance of all recent migrants and their children, as well improving opportunities for a greater role for women.

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