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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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Introduction

Why past can be prologue

The primary aim of this study is to identify political economy lessons that may be of use to policy makers seeking to design, adopt and implement structural reforms. It seeks to build on previous work by the OECD Economics Department and also to contribute to the broader OECD project on “Making Reforms Happen”. This study takes an open approach, aimed at drawing general conclusions from the analysis of specific cases.

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