The Political Economy of Reform

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

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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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Reform of the farmers' social security system, 2003-05

Poland operates a separate social security system for farmers. It covers pensions, healthcare, disability and other benefits for the part of the population that meets the broad criteria for inclusion in the system, which has been criticised for creating perceived inequities and not being self-financing. In the end, only minor changes were adopted. The frustration of the attempt to introduce more fundamental changes to the system reflected a number of factors, including: an unfavourable political context, declining pressure for immediate action, the strength of vested interests and mixed motives for reform.

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