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The Political Economy of Reform

Lessons from Pensions, Product Markets and Labour Markets in Ten OECD Countries

image of The Political Economy of Reform

This report examines why some policy reforms get implemented and others languish by examining 20 structural reform efforts in 10 OECD countries over the past two decades. The case studies cover a wide variety of reform attempts in three key areas: pensions, labour- and product-market regulation. Key factors in the political, economic and reform-specific arenas are identified as helping or hindering reform, and these findings are cross-checked using a relatively simple set of Spearman rank correlations. The report’s two-pronged analytical approach – quantitative and qualitative – results in unique insights for policy makers designing, adopting and implementing structural policy reforms.

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Australia

Power-sector reform, 1990-2004

Australia was among the first countries to undertake substantial market reform in the electricity sector. An open access regime governs use of the transmission and distribution networks. Retail market opening gives all electricity customers the right to choose their retail suppliers, but customers can still opt not to enter a contestable market and to remain under regulated electricity tariffs. Most assessments credit the reform with increasing efficiency and reducing electricity prices.

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