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Embracing green growth can secure strong, stable and sustainable development. Green growth recognises and integrates the value of natural capital into economic decision-making and development planning, which is critical to avoid natural capital depletion, the worst of climate change and social and national security risks (OECD, 2013). This is particularly true for developing countries, because of their dependence on natural assets and acute exposure and vulnerability to environmental risks, ranging from air, water and soil pollution, as well as natural resource scarcity and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change. A green growth policy framework recognises and aims to address both micro- and macro-level pressures that countries face to grow their economies, while also managing environmental risks. In poorer developing countries, micro-level pressures may include lack of access to basic services such as shelter, fuel, water; while macro-level pressures are threats to stable livelihoods due to...
Reducing food losses and food waste is attracting growing public attention at the international, regional, and national levels, and is widely acknowledged to contribute to abating interlinked sustainability challenges such as food security, climate change, and water shortage. However, the pattern and scale of food waste throughout the supply chain remains poorly understood, despite growing media coverage and public concerns in recent years. This paper takes stock of available data on food waste and explores policies related to food waste in OECD countries.
This paper investigates how climate change can affect agricultural production and proposes some adaptation measures that could be undertaken to mitigate the negative effects of climate change while enhancing the positive ones. The paper stresses the importance of planned adaptation measures and highlights possible strategies for reducing risk and improving resilience. To quantify the possible effects of climate change and the effects of adaptation measures this study uses the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT). The analysis first explores the potential effects of climate change on yields and prices. It then goes on to analyse the potential impacts of two distinctive sets of adaptation strategies on yields, prices, and food security, namely: i) research and development (to develop new crop varieties that are better suited to changed climate conditions) and ii) changes in irrigation technology. Last, the analysis in this paper estimates the public and private investment needs in research and development (R&D) for developing new crop varieties, and further develops estimates of the cost of improving irrigation technologies in OECD countries.
The purpose of this paper is to understand how income inequality is associated with economic growth in OECD regions and whether the degree and type of urban concentration affects this relationship. Both income inequality and urban concentration can be seen as patterns of resource allocation that are particularly interlinked at the regional level. We combine household survey data and macroeconomic databases, covering a period ranging from 2004 to 2012 for comparable regions in 15 OECD countries. Econometric results show that, at least for the short period under consideration, there is a general negative association between inequalities and economic growth, especially since the start of the economic crisis. This relationship is sensitive to the type of urban structure. Higher inequalities seem to be more detrimental for growth in large cities, while regions characterised by small cities and rural areas are less affected.
This working paper takes a comparative snapshot of social media use in and by OECD governments. The focus is on government institutions, as opposed to personalities, and how they manage to capture the opportunities of new social media platforms to deliver better public services and to create more open policy processes. The analysis is based on a large amount of empirical data, including a survey of OECD governments on policies and objectives in this area. Major challenges are discussed, notably those related to the uncertainty of institutions on how to best leverage social media beyond “corporate” communications. The paper proposes tools to guide decision makers: a checklist of issues to be considered by government institutions, a set of potential indicators to appraise impacts, and a range of options for more in-depth policy analysis.
The development of Asian cities is characterised by rapid and continuous urbanisation on an unprecedented scale, with rapid economic growth led in most places by the manufacturing industry, and rapidly increasing motorisation. The result has been escalating greenhouse gas emissions, sprawling urban development and local environmental impacts, as well as disparities in income, education levels and job opportunities in the urban population. These trends differ sharply from those in most of the OECD area and call for a green growth model that differs from those identified in previous OECD studies and that addresses the specific circumstances of Asian cities.

This paper proposes an analytical framework for assessing policies for green growth in rapidly growing cities in the emerging world. It builds on Cities and Green Growth: A Conceptual Framework (Hammer et al., 2011) and is adapted to the urban policy context of dynamic Asia. Its three main elements are: i) identification of the key policy strategies for urban green growth in fast-growing Asian cities, highlighting similarities to and differences from OECD cities; ii) opportunities for green growth; and iii) enabling strategies for implementing urban green growth.

This paper presents a new set of estimates of exposure to air pollution (fine particulate matter - PM2.5) at the city, regional and national levels for the 34 OECD countries, and at the regional and national levels for Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa. The estimates are developed by the computation of satellite-based observations. They have the advantage of providing consistent values of the magnitude and spatial distribution of air pollution to be compared across and within countries and over time. The paper also explores the association between shape of cities (population density, share of built-up area, extension of the hinterlands, etc.) and air pollution. The estimates of air pollution at (TL2) regional level have been used in the newly released OECD Regional Well-Being Database as a measure of the environmental dimension.

This paper assesses the OECD’s projections for GDP growth and inflation during the global financial crisis and recovery, focusing on lessons that can be learned. Growth was repeatedly overestimated in the projections, which failed to anticipate the extent of the slowdown and later the weak pace of the recovery. Similar errors were made by many other forecasters. At the same time, inflation was stronger than expected on average. Analysis of the growth errors shows that the OECD projections in the crisis years were larger in countries with more international trade openness and greater presence of foreign banks. In the recovery, there is little evidence that an underestimate of the impact of fiscal consolidation contributed significantly to forecast errors. Instead, the repeated conditioning assumption that the euro area crisis would stabilise or ease played an important role, with growth weaker than projected in European countries where bond spreads were higher than had been assumed. But placing these errors in a historical context illustrates that the errors were not without precedent: similar-sized errors were made in the first oil price shock of the 1970s. In response to the challenges encountered in forecasting in recent years and the lessons learnt, the OECD and other international organisations have sought to improve their forecasting techniques and procedures, to improve their ability to monitor near-term developments and to better account for international linkages and financial market developments.

JEL classification: E17, E27, E32, E37, E62, E66, F47, G01
Keywords: Forecasting, economic outlook, economic fluctuations, fiscal policy

Despite the increased importance of cyclically-adjusted measures of labour market slack for policymaking, estimates of the NAIRU have become increasingly fragile. Particularly for euro area countries, NAIRU estimates represent a crucial input to compute cyclically-adjusted budget balances adopted to formulate medium-term fiscal objectives under the EU fiscal surveillance framework. However, the apparent reduced sensitivity of inflation to labour market dynamics and unemployment gaps seriously undermines the use of Phillips curve equations in estimating the NAIRU. Estimates of the NAIRU are particularly problematic when changes in unemployment are both very large and rapid as in the aftermath of the global crisis. This paper proposes a refinement to the standard OECD approach of using a Kalman filter to estimate the NAIRU in the context of the Phillips curve. The proposed refinement strengthens the relationship between inflation and labour market developments by considering the risk of hysteresis effects associated with changes in long-term unemployment. Testing the revised methodology on a broad selection of OECD countries gives mixed results. For a group of countries in the euro area periphery (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain) there is an increase in the magnitude and statistical significance of the unemployment gap, with the NAIRU revised upward by on average 1¾ percentage points. However, the revised methodology provides less improvement to the standard OECD methodology for a second set of countries considered, namely the G7 excluding Italy. The United States is an interesting intermediate case as the statistical evidence for the proposed methodology is marginal, but the policy implications of the revised point estimate of the NAIRU are major.

JEL classification: C32, E24, E31, E32, J64.
Keywords: Long-term unemployment, flattening Phillips curve, NAIRU, euro area periphery, Kalman filter.

Personal behaviour and choices in daily life, from what we eat to how we get to work or heat our homes, have a significant – and growing – effect on the environment. But why are some households greener than others? And what factors motivate green household choices?

Answering these questions is vital for helping governments design and target policies that promote “greener” behaviour. The OECD’s Environmental Policy and Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC) survey is designed to do just that. This large-scale household survey explores what drives household environmental behaviour and how policies may affect household decisions. It focuses on five areas in which households have significant environmental impact: energy, food, transport, waste and water. This policy paper is based on the second round of the EPIC survey, carried out in 2011 (the first was in 2008). The survey collected information from more than 12 000 households in Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

This report focuses on demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It presents the results of follow-up of econometric analysis of the 2011 OECD Survey on Environmental Policy and Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC). The report complements the overview of the survey data provided in the 2014 OECD publication “Greening Household Behaviour: Overview from the 2011 Survey”...
The second round of the OECD Survey on Environmental Policy for Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC) was implemented in 2011. A publication providing an overview of the survey data from over 12 000 households in eleven countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) is available.1 Follow-up econometric analyses were conducted in each of the thematic areas covered (energy, food, transport, waste and water), as well as on cross-domain comparisons in environmental attitudes and behaviours.2 This report presents a synthesis of main results from econometric analysis using the data from the 2011 EPIC survey, as well as policy implications.

Against the background of the recent financial crisis that in many countries metastasised into significant fiscal stress, this article reviews the analysis, management and mitigation of fiscal risks. On the basis of the classification of specific, general and systemic types, fiscal risks have been estimated directly, and more recently, through sensitivity tests on baseline macro-fiscal projections. Although still at an experimental stage, valuable insights have been gained for implementation of various stochastic methods. The article draws a number of lessons for improved management and mitigation of fiscal risks from a recent OECD survey of country practices. This suggests scope for improvement on a number of fronts: disclosure and estimation of risks; assignment of such tasks within the public sector; adoption of various insurance schemes; building special-purpose reserves; and enacting well-designed fiscal rules, along with effective no-bailout provisions. At the policy level, it is necessary to adopt a countercyclical policy stance especially during economic booms; to enforce transparent accounting and forecasting practices; and where necessary, to undertake structural reform in key areas. An additional overarching lesson from the financial crisis is the need to assess and prevent systemic fiscal risk through close co-ordination with an independent macroprudential supervisory authority.

JEL classification: H5, H12, H41
Keywords: Fiscal risk, fiscal rules, countercyclical policy, systemic risk, stochastic methods

This report focuses on personal transport choices. It presents the results of follow-up analysis of the 2011 OECD Survey on Environmental Policy and Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC) survey where econometric techniques are applied. The report complements the overview of the survey data provided in the publication OECD (2014). The objective of the analysis is to understand the determinants of household choices in the following areas: the use of alternative modes of transportation car ownership, willingness-to-pay for an electric vehicles and the relative importance of environmental factors when buying a car. The results indicate that the choice of non-motorized modes of transportation is strongly correlated with the proximity of the destination and that attitudinal variables play only a minor role. The same is true for the use of public transport. Households that say that they trust information about environmental impact of products, are better educated about impact of private transport and are in favour of government actions to reduce CO2, tend to have a higher willingness to pay for electric vehicles.
This paper estimates the elasticities of government revenue and expenditure items with respect to the output gap for European Union (EU) countries. These elasticities are used by the European Commission, as part of the EU fiscal surveillance process, to calculate the semi-elasticity of the budget balance as a percentage of GDP with respect to the output gap. The study updates the earlier 2005 study of OECD economies using the most recent datasets and tax codes, the coverage being confined in this paper to the 28 EU member states, seven of which are not OECD members. The same basic two-step methodology is retained: revenue and expenditure elasticities with respect to the output gap being defined as the product of, first, the elasticities of individual revenue and expenditure items with respect to their bases and, second, the elasticities of these bases with respect to the output gap. A number of refinements and methodological improvements are made relative to the 2005 study. The revisions to individual elasticities relative to the 2005 vintage are significant in a number of cases but do not follow a clear pattern across countries, except for the elasticities of corporate income tax revenue which are revised up in most cases.
This report focuses on households’ behaviour in relation to water use. It presents the results of follow-up analysis of the 2011 OECD Survey on Environmental Policy and Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC) where econometric techniques are applied. This report complements the overview of the survey data provided in the publication OECD (2014). The analysis shows that households whose bill depends on actual water use are unambiguously more likely to exhibit pro-environmental behaviours in terms of water use, including undertaking water-saving behaviours, purchasing water-efficient devices, and taking water efficiency into account when purchasing such equipment. The results also confirm that the effect of social norms, attitudes, and opinions about the environment in general do matter in explaining households’ behaviour and investment decisions. The main policy recommendations that can be derived from this study are: to charge households for water based on their actual water use and to pursue individuals’ sensitisation to environmental issues by promoting water-conservation behaviours through campaigns and advertising, primarily targeting male and young adults.
Discussions of the importance of public attitudes in shaping policy often lack clear evidence on causal relations between stated attitudes and observed behaviours. The 2011 OECD Survey of over 12,000 households allows analysing households’ environmental attitudes and behaviours in five different domains (electricity, food, transport, waste and water). Using econometric analysis, we investigate the relationship between stated environmental attitudes and indicators of civic engagement, such as voting in local elections, charity membership and membership in environmental organisations...
This report focusses on the determinants of household waste generation, the separation of recyclables and waste prevention behaviours. It presents the econometric results of follow-up analysis of the 2011 OECD Survey on Environmental Policy and Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC). This report complements the overview of the survey data provided in the publication « Greening Household Behaviour: Overview from the 2011 Survey - Revised edition » (2014)...
This report focuses on households’ behaviour in relation to food consumption. It presents the results of follow-up econometric analysis of the 2011 OECD Survey on Environmental Policy and Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC). This report complements the overview of the survey data provided in the publication OECD (2014). It studies expenditure and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for organic food and food labelled as taking animal welfare into account...
In most OECD countries, the gap between rich and poor is at its highest level since 30 years. Today, the richest 10 per cent of the population in the OECD area earn 9.5 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent; in the 1980s this ratio stood at 7:1 and has been rising continuously ever since. However, the rise in overall income inequality is not (only) about surging top income shares: often, incomes at the bottom grew much slower during the prosperous years and fell during downturns, putting relative (and in some countries, absolute) income poverty on the radar of policy concerns. This paper explores whether such developments may have an impact on economic performance.

Drawing on harmonised data covering the OECD countries over the past 30 years, the econometric analysis suggests that income inequality has a negative and statistically significant impact on subsequent growth. In particular, what matters most is the gap between low income households and the rest of the population. In contrast, no evidence is found that those with high incomes pulling away from the rest of the population harms growth. The paper also evaluates the “human capital accumulation theory” finding evidence for human capital as a channel through which inequality may affect growth. Analysis based on micro data from the Adult Skills Survey (PIAAC) shows that increased income disparities depress skills development among individuals with poorer parental education background, both in terms of the quantity of education attained (e.g. years of schooling), and in terms of its quality (i.e. skill proficiency). Educational outcomes of individuals from richer backgrounds, however, are not affected by inequality.

It follows that policies to reduce income inequalities should not only be pursued to improve social outcomes but also to sustain long-term growth. Redistribution policies via taxes and transfers are a key tool to ensure the benefits of growth are more broadly distributed and the results suggest they need not be expected to undermine growth. But it is also important to promote equality of opportunity in access to and quality of education. This implies a focus on families with children and youths – as this is when decisions about human capital accumulation are made -- promoting employment for disadvantaged groups through active labour market policies, childcare supports and in-work benefits.

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