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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Postal liberalisation, 1992-99

In January 1993, parliament abolished the state-owned postal operator’s monopoly on the collection and delivery of letter mail items. Legislation adopted at the beginning of the following year transformed the Postal Administration into a joint-stock company and  created a new legal and regulatory framework for the postal sector. These changes created the world’s first wholly liberalised postal market. Although the authorities moved rapidly to open up the market, the initial liberalisation was followed by several years of regulatory innovation and adjustment. The liberalisation overall, however, was relatively smooth.

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