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OECD Employment Outlook 2008

image of OECD Employment Outlook 2008

As ageing populations put more downward pressure on economic growth in the coming decades, it is essential that OECD countries improve labour market performance.  This edition of OECD's annual report on labour markets brings the reader not only detailed information on recent labour market developments, but also in-depth analysis of the effects of various policy measures and prospects through 2009.  The analysis includes coverage of of the youth labour market in OECD Countries; informal employment and undeclared work; labour market discrimination and policies to combat it; the link between job stress and mental health problems; and the pay and working conditions offered by multinational firms. This book includes StatLinks, URLs which link statistical tables and graphs to Excel spreadsheets on the internet.

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The Price of Prejudice

Labour Market Discrimination on the Grounds of Gender and Ethnicity

Despite some progress, there is still evidence of discrimination on the grounds of gender and ethnic or racial origins in OECD labour markets. Field experiments show pervasive ethnic discrimination in many countries. Indirect evidence shows that on average at least 8% of the gender employment gap and a larger proportion of the gender wage gap can be attributed to discrimination. Virtually all OECD countries have enacted anti-discrimination laws in recent decades, and evaluations as well as cross-country analysis suggest that, if well-designed, these laws can be effective in reducing disparities in labour market outcomes. However, enforcement of antidiscrimination legislation is essentially based on victims’ willingness to claim their rights. Thus, public awareness of legal rules and their expected consequences (notably, victims’ costs and benefits of lodging complaints) is a crucial element of an effective policy strategy to establish a culture of equal treatment. Moreover, legal rules are likely to have more impact if the enforcement is not exclusively dependent on individuals. In this respect, specific agencies may play a key role.

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