OECD Productivity Working Papers

The OECD Productivity Papers are associated with the Global Forum on Productivity that provides a forum for mutual exchange of information and fosters international co-operation between public bodies with responsibility for promoting productivity-enhancing policies, including in undertaking joint policy analysis. It offers a platform for exchanging views, experiences and information, institutional and governance arrangements and government structures, with a view towards developing better policies. The Forum extends existing work in the OECD through a well-prioritised and coherent stream of analytical work serving the policy research needs of participants on the drivers of productivity growth.


Pro-Productivity Institutions: Learning from National Experience

This paper analyses and compares ten institutions that have a mandate to promote productivity-enhancing reforms. The selected bodies include government advisory councils, standing inquiry bodies, and ad hoc, temporary task forces. We find that well-designed pro-productivity institutions can generally improve the quality of the policy process and political debate, and can make a significant contribution to evidence-based policymaking. Our findings also support the view that concentrating knowledge and research on productivity in one independent, highly skilled and reputed body can help create the momentum and the knowledge that are required to embrace the challenging task of promoting long-term productivity growth. We also find evidence that while institutions located outside government have more leeway in promoting reforms that challenge vested interests and produce results over a time span that goes beyond the electoral cycle, the existence of smart government bodies can allow experimental policymaking and a more adaptive, evidence-based policy process. We also find that it is of utmost importance to provide these bodies with sufficient resources, skills, transparency and procedural accountability to fulfil their tasks; a sufficiently broad mission, oriented towards long-term well-being and at both supply-side and demand-side considerations; policy evaluation functions; and the ability to reach out to the general public in a variety of ways, from consultation to advocacy, use of social media, and other forms of communication.


Keywords: government bodies, public sector productivity, political economy of reform, independence
JEL: O4: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity; D7: Microeconomics / Analysis of Collective Decision-Making; L1: Industrial Organization / Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance; H1: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government
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