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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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Spain

Retail entry and opening hours, 1995-2004

The regulation of retail hours and entry has been a controversial issue since the mid 1990s, when the government partially reversed an earlier retail-sector deregulation, allowing regional authorities to regulate both opening hours and Sunday/ holiday opening, and to grant or withhold permission to open new hypermarkets. Numerous barriers to entry and competition remain in the retail sector. Studies suggest that the cumulative impact of these barriers is significant. The politics of the issue involve both tensions between central and local governments and conflicts between producer and consumer interests.

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