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Taking global value chains (GVCs) into account has important implications for trade policy. When production is vertically fragmented and trade in intermediate inputs is prevalent, one has to look differently at a certain number of issues. Through case studies, this paper provides new evidence on the incidence on services of tariffs levied on goods (case study 1) and then discusses effective rates of protection in a world of GVCs and what the removal of tariffs on intermediate inputs implies, using the example of Canada (case study 2). To illustrate how trade agreements could be made more relevant for GVCs, the paper further looks at sectoral approaches in trade negotiations through the example of the Information Technology Agreement (case study 3) and finally compares the network of regional trade agreements in force with global production networks (case study 4).
This paper investigates the contribution of regions to aggregate growth in the OECD. We find a great degree of heterogeneity in the performance of OECD TL3 regions and among the OECD regional typology (urban, intermediate and rural). While the distribution in GDP and GDP per capita growth rates follows an approximately normal distribution, the regional contributions to aggregate growth follow a power law, with a coefficient around 1.2 (in absolute terms). This implies that Few-Large (FL) regions contribute disproportionately to aggregate growth whereas Many-Small (MS) individual regions contribute only marginally. Nevertheless, because the number of these smaller regions is very large and the decay of their contribution to growth is slow (generating a fat tail distribution), their cumulated contribution is actually around 2/3 of aggregate growth. For the period 1995-2007, only 2.4% of OECD TL3 regions contribute to 27% of OECD GDP growth, but the remaining 97.6% corresponds to 73%. We also found that the distribution of growth rates by size follows a non-monotonic pattern, with the largest concentration of above average regional growth rates being concentrated for middle-sized regions. This heterogeneity suggests that the possibilities for growth seem to exist in many different types of regions.
Sweden was facing a serious soil acidification and water eutrophication problem caused partly by emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from combustion processes in transport, industry and power. In 1992, Sweden introduced a high tax on NOx emissions from large combustion sources (e.g. power plants, industrial plants, waste incinerators). The tax was accompanied by a refund according to the amount of energy generated. This ensures that facilities with low NOx emission intensitites are net beneficiaries of the scheme. Continuous monitoring of emissions was also made mandatory. The tax was designed to accelerate and stimulate investment in advanced combustion and pollution-abatement technologies and as a supplement to existing regulatory measures.
Housing is a core element of people’s material living standards. It is essential to meet basic needs, such as for shelter from weather conditions, and to offer a sense of personal security, privacy and personal space. Good housing conditions are also essential for people’s health and affect childhood development. Further, housing costs make up a large share of the household budget and constitute the main component of household wealth. Residential satisfaction is a broad concept, and is associated with multidimensional aspects including physical, social, and neighbourhood factors, as well as psychological and sociodemographic characteristics of the residents. By taking advantage of two household surveys (the EU-SILC ad hoc module on housing for European countries; and the Gallup World Poll for OECD countries and other major economies), this paper uses ordered probit analysis to explore the link between households’ residential satisfaction and a number of variables related to individuals, the households to which they belong, and the characteristics of the dwelling and neighbourhood where they live. The major findings of this analysis show a complex relationship between residential satisfaction and housing characteristics including neighbourhood’s features. Individual and household socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. age, gender, education) play a secondary role once dwelling and neighbourhood features are controlled for. Understanding the factors that lead to satisfaction with housing and residential environment is key for planning successful and effective housing policies.
Mitigation pledges put forward by countries under the UNFCCC process are "made to measure" in that they are tailored to fit each country's individual circumstances. However, the pledges also need to be made to be measured so that we have a full understanding of how the various commitments add up to an aggregate global mitigation effort. The Kyoto Protocol provides the only existing international emissions accounting framework, but it applies only to developed countries with specific commitments. This paper assesses what would be required, in addition to existing reporting requirements, to build a robust emissions accounting framework under the UNFCCC applicable to a broad range of Parties.

The paper first identifies necessary building blocks for an emissions accounting framework and assesses progress made in agreeing international reporting processes. It then looks in detail at the two most challenging areas for emissions accounting. The first area is accounting for flows of tradable units from market-based mechanisms, including international flows between linked domestic trading systems as well as from offset crediting mechanisms. The second area is accounting for emissions and removals from the forestry and land-use sectors, which have characteristics that make emissions accounting challenging: the need to distinguish anthropogenic emissions from natural variations, to deal with long time-frames and to measure sinks as well as sources of emissions. Finally, options are presented for how these issues might be taken forward in the negotiations, and how negotiators can build on recent progress made on reporting formats.

World trade and production are increasingly structured around “global value chains” (GVCs). The last few years have witnessed a growing number of case studies describing at the product level how production is internationally fragmented, but there is little evidence at the aggregate level on the prevalence of GVCs. The main objective of this paper is to provide for more and better evidence allowing the examination of countries’ position within international production networks. We propose a number of indicators that give a more accurate picture of the integration and position of countries in GVCs, as well as a more detailed assessment of the value chain in six broad industries: agriculture and food products, chemicals, electronics, motor vehicles, business services and financial services.
This paper proposes a new measure of skills mismatch that combines information about skill proficiency, self-reported mismatch and skill use. The theoretical foundations underling this measure allow identifying minimum and maximum skill requirements for each occupation and to classify workers into three groups, the well-matched, the under-skilled and the over-skilled. The availability of skill use data further permit the computation of the degree of under and overusage of skills in the economy. The empirical analysis is carried out using the first wave of the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) and the findings are compared across skill domains, labour market status and countries.
China has suffered railway capacity constraints for more than several decades and the need for a large increase in rail capacity has been viewed as the primary challenge. The former Chinese Ministry of Railways believed that building a national wide high speed railway (HSR) network was the most efficient solution to China’s rail capacity problems. By 2012, 9 000 km of HSR line has been completed which accounted more than half of the total in the World and the other 9 000 km HSR line is either under construction or in the planning stage. This paper attempts to discuss the initial operational, financial and economic result of such a large scale HSR investment in China where the establishment of an appraisal system for a HSR project is still underway and the public data in need are not available. Based on some trial studies carried out on several HSR projects, however, the paper shows that except for a limited amount of HSR projects in the most developed areas of the country, the initial financial and economic performance of most HSR lines are generally much poorer than expected. The scale of investment seems to be difficult to justify, given that investment in HSR lines is very expensive, especially for those with design speed of 350 km/h, and the high level of debt funding. Moreover the values of time of the ordinary Chinese are still low by European standards. For a developing country planning HSR projects, one lesson that can be learnt from China is that it would be ideal if a comprehensive appraisal can be taken into account before investing in HSR. Such appraisal includes examination of different options for technical and operational standards, timing of investment, construction scale and pace, train operational scheme and service level, pricing and regional development policy (political consideration). At the very least, a step by step development strategy should be adopted to cope with the huge uncertainties and risks.
International investment agreements (IIAs) almost universally define their temporal validity and thus set conditions for States’ exit from these treaties.

This study presents the results of the survey of language that determines the temporal validity of 2,061 bilateral investment agreements that the 55 economies participating in the OECD-hosted Freedom of Investment Roundtables have concluded with any other economy.

The paper summarises in its first part past and current treaty practice in this regard: how do States design the parameters that define the temporal validity of their treaties and the duration of the obligations contained therein? How has this design evolved over time? Do different kinds of IIAs take different approaches to this matter? Have individual States developed distinct practices or policies?

The second part of the paper presents key findings that result from the analysis of treaty practice in a large number of agreements. It highlights characteristics of the provisions on temporal validity employed in IIAs; emphasises the collective engagement that results from the clauses in IIAs and the consequences of country-specific practice; and suggests questions on intriguing policy choices that a large comparative study reveals.

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other This document and any map included herein are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. The opinions expressed in these papers are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries. You can copy, download or print OECD content for your own use, and you can include excerpts from OECD publications, databases and multimedia products in your own documents, presentations, blogs, websites and teaching materials, provided that suitable acknowledgement of OECD as source and copyright owner is given. All requests for public or commercial use and translation rights should be submitted to [email protected]
An increasing amount of empirical evidence documents that city-size distribution within a country follows a power law, often in the form of Zipf’s law. This paper provides new comparative evidence on city size distribution across OECD countries. It uses a database where urban agglomerations are consistently identified across different countries, through an algorithm based on population density and commuting patterns. The paper investigates whether Zipf’s law fits well with data. A robustness check is carried out using a traditional administrative definition of cities. Results show that Zipf’s law describes well city size distribution not only at country level, but also at wider spatial scales. The law does not fit as well with the data when using a traditional administrative definition of cities.
This report highlights the changing landscape of risk and crisis communications and in particular how social media can be a beneficial tool, but also create challenges for crisis managers. It explores different practices of risk and crisis communications experts related to the use of social media and propose a framework for monitoring the development of practices among countries in the use of social media for risk and crisis communications. The three step process spans passive to dynamic use of social media, and provides governments a self-assessment tool to enable cross country comparison to monitor and track progress in the uptake of effective use of social media by emergency services or crisis managers.
Existing estimates of the labor-market returns to human capital give a distorted picture of the role of skills across different economies. International comparisons of earnings analyses rely almost exclusively on school attainment measures of human capital, and evidence incorporating direct measures of cognitive skills is mostly restricted to early-career workers in the United States. Analysis of the new PIAAC survey of adult skills over the full lifecycle in 22 countries shows that the focus on early-career earnings leads to underestimating the lifetime returns to skills by about one quarter. On average, a one-standard-deviation increase in numeracy skills is associated with an 18 percent wage increase among prime-age workers. But this masks considerable heterogeneity across countries. Eight countries, including all Nordic countries, have returns between 12 and 15 percent, while six are above 21 percent with the largest return being 28 percent in the United States. Estimates are remarkably robust to different earnings and skill measures, additional controls, and various subgroups. Intriguingly, returns to skills are systematically lower in countries with higher union density, stricter employment protection, and larger public-sector shares.
Resilience has gained significant prominence following the re-examination of the performance of the humanitarian and development aid systems in light of the two major food security crises in East and West Africa over the last two years, coupled with ongoing ‘post-2015’ negotiations on key global disaster risk reduction, climate change and development policy and resourcing. Resilience has largely been communicated by donor and other key actors as a political agenda, devoid of clear technical guidance as to its added value and how it changes programming on the ground. As a result, country staff are either cynical of its value, are confused as to what it means, or use it as another opportunity to attract funding or to justify their narrow institutional mandate. There are relatively few actors who engage with resilience armed with specific technical guidance informed by comprehensive risk and vulnerability analyses. The continued ‘improper’ application of resilience reinforces some views that this is another ‘buzzword’ or ‘fad’, devoid of real meaning for programming, and will mean that the approach will be eventually dropped from policy and programming when ‘the next big thing’ comes along.

This study argues that resilience has sufficient technical added-value (distinct from resilience as a political agenda) and outlines how it can be applied to programming, and, in response to challenges on the ground how donors and key partners can incentivise integrating resilience into programming. There are also recommendations for further study to support further integration of resilience into programming.

The relation between ports and their cities have evolved: it is no longer evident that well-functioning ports have automatically a net positive impact on the port-city. There are various trajectories and many ports and port-cities attempt to stimulate port-city development by a range of public policies. Yet, little is known about effectiveness of policies to promote performance of ports and port-cities. This paper aims at filling this gap, by assessing the effectiveness of port-city policies, within various policy areas including port development, port-city economic development, transportation, environment, research and development, spatial development and communication. This is done via a principal component analysis (PCA), based on a database constructed for the purpose of this paper with outcome variables and scores of policies for a set of 27 large world port-cities, that makes it possible to identify policies that are associated with effective policy outcomes and show patterns of related policy outcomes and policies.
The impacts of climate change are expected to create numerous challenges for cities. This report synthesizes key points raised in a series of discussions among “adaptation leaders” from fourteen cities around the world. Critical issues for urban adaptation that emerged from the discussions include the need for political commitment at multiple levels of government, information and data as a basis for understanding potential risks and vulnerabilities, meaningful and effective stakeholder engagement shaped by local contexts, and sustained financial and staff resources that are sensitive to urban variability. Further, the findings highlight how policy-makers and international organizations working with cities on issues of adaptation and resilience must support and facilitate processes of testing ideas, learning from experiences, and recalibrating as new information is obtained and lessons are learned.
Mobile applications, also known as “apps”, are a highly innovative and are an expanding sector of the economy, so policy makers are keen to maximise their innovative potential. Mobile platform markets are fiercely competitive, as highlighted by the recent rise and decline of platforms such as Blackberry, and governments are rightfully allowing market mechanisms to play out with minimal government intervention. However, as the app economy matures, there are increasing calls for transparency on how data is collected and used by apps. Leading mobile platform providers have recently taken steps to improve transparency on how apps access personal data but more can be done to inform users and give them the ability to limit access. This paper provides an overview of the app economy and identifies emerging policy issues related to competition, consumer protection and skills development.

This paper explores the policy coherence for development (PCD) dimensions of green growth strategies pursued by OECD member states. The coherence challenge is to design OECD green growth policies in order to maximise the positive synergies and minimise the negatives effects on pro-poor growth in developing countries. Coherence issues across three cross-cutting themes, climate change, biodiversity and innovation policy, are considered, before a comprehensive set of PCD issues related to agricultural livelihoods, fisheries livelihoods and the energy and minor sectors in developing countries are discussed. In doing so three PCD case studies, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the reform of EU biofuels policy and EU fisheries access, are presented and lessons for the green growth agenda are derived.

Governments need to be able to quickly and flexibly reallocate resources from one priority to another. This article addresses this dimension of strategic agility in terms of managing the reallocation of resources in the public sector through the use of various budgetary tools. The focus is on recent fiscal consolidation efforts, the use of performance information and spending reviews, and automatic productivity cuts. This article draws on the OECD survey on performance and results that was conducted in 2011/12; the data are accurate as of November 2012.

The purpose of this presentation is to examine a specific rail transport sector, namely high-speed (HS) rail, in Italy. This analysis will cover the main features of the Italian HS system by studying aspects such as: the legislative framework, infrastructure, services, traffic data and market shares, in addition to regulatory matters.
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