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Australia’s financial sector entered the COVID-19 crisis in a strong position, enabling it to play a key role in cushioning the pandemic’s impact. Once the national economy reopens, policymakers will turn their focus to securing a robust, sustainable and inclusive recovery. However, low interest rates are boosting house prices and demand for credit in a banking sector that is already highly exposed to housing and highly indebted households. At the same time, many young and innovative firms – which are the drivers of job creation and productivity growth - struggle to access finance. And financial frictions impede the alignment of financial flows with environmental sustainability. Addressing these obstacles, through regulatory change, developing alternatives to bank finance and facilitating technological transformation, would raise productivity and set the recovery on a more sustainable path. Financial inclusion and financial literacy are comparatively high and financial education is entrenched at schools. Further efforts are still needed to address persistent gaps in outcomes for disadvantaged groups, accompanied by stronger consumer protections to ensure that the recovery is inclusive.

Responding to the gender impacts of COVID-19 – including lost economic opportunities when taking on more domestic and care work in the health sector and at home, and increased violence – requires more tailored policies and resources that support gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also means including women in leadership and decision making in all aspects of the recovery. Official development assistance (ODA) is key to improved gender analysis by donors and development partners, and the broader application of gender-responsive budgeting tools across public finance management (PFM) systems. This paper provides recommendations to better align ODA to gender-sensitive responses in the disbursement of COVID-19 relief and recovery funds, and considers how PFM systems should be strengthened by donors and partner countries to provide for gender-sensitive recoveries.

The significant increase in flows of personal data has spurred policy makers to try to develop a coherent approach to privacy governance both domestically and across borders. In this context, the need for the interoperability of privacy and data protection frameworks (“privacy interoperability”) has taken on greater importance. While there is broad agreement on the importance of privacy interoperability, how to achieve this in practice is less well understood. This Going Digital Toolkit note describes the issues around ensuring the interoperability of privacy and data protection frameworks, and it highlights promising initiatives by governments and privacy enforcement authorities at the national and international levels. This note seeks to contribute to a shared understanding of privacy interoperability in the context of the governance of privacy and data protection and transborder flows of personal data.

This paper assesses the medium term impact of the United Kingdom leaving the EU Single Market under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) reached at the end of 2020 using the OECD METRO CGE model. The analysis does not include any transitional costs to fully implementing the new trade agreement, nor does it take into account stress on the economy as a result of COVID-19. Lastly, only the implications on services trade from regulatory restrictions on the free movement of people have been incorporated in the analysis while the wider labour market impacts of cross-border movement of people are left aside. Results from the simulation show that real GDP losses in the European Union, in the worst case scenario are expected to be around 0.6% in the medium term, but would vary markedly across countries. Ireland would experience the largest losses, while countries with loose trade links with the United Kingdom would barely be affected. The decline in trade is not uniform among sectors. European Union member states are expected to import less professional services such as financial services and insurance, communication, and other business services. UK exports are estimated to fall by about 6.3% and imports by 8.1% in the medium term. The overall medium-term loss in real GDP could amount to 4.4%.

This paper analyses how development finance institutions (DFIs) manage and measure the impacts of their investments. Using the logic of an earlier scoping exercise, we examine how DFIs operationalise the different impact management and measurement (IMM) tools and initiatives emerging from harmonisation efforts within the industry, or roll out their own proprietary frameworks. This mapping enables us to draw broad conclusions for other investors operating in a development context. Namely, it is possible to both harmonise broad sets of agreed values (principles) and standardise metrics and indicators. At the same time, the paper shows that it is not useful to converge towards a “single, limiting” measurement framework. Ultimately, the different contexts and geographies DFIs operate in, as well as their different stakeholders and shareholders, demand flexibility. Nevertheless, convergence around underpinning standards of practice is essential to producing transparent, consistent and comparable data on impact. Such data on impact, outlining what works in different geographies and contexts, is critical in strengthening the efficient deployment of funds. In this sense, we want to avoid both impact washing and a “race to the bottom”, in favour of an aspirational drive towards better impact management and measurement.

To date, no international consensus exists on the definition of giftedness. There is a great diversity in conceptualising giftedness not only between, but also within countries. Inevitably, this has a major influence on how countries design and implement gifted education programmes. This paper starts with an overview of the extended academic literature on the definition and identification of giftedness. It then describes OECD countries’ policy initiatives to respond to the needs of gifted students and to foster their inclusion in education systems. Following the Strength through Diversity project’s framework, the analysis focuses on the areas of governance, resourcing, capacity building, school-level interventions, and monitoring and evaluation of gifted programmes. The paper finds that a greater emphasis is placed on the governance of gifted education, often related to broader equity and inclusion concerns. Nonetheless, further research and evaluations are needed to understand what policies and practices can best benefit gifted learners while ensuring positive educational and well-being outcomes for all students.

This paper concludes the project “Support to Improve Effectiveness of Lithuania’s Innovation Policy” which summarises the findings, policy options and recommended actions. It aimed at providing support to efforts of the Government of Lithuania to better deliver existing policies, and develop and implement appropriate new policies, instruments and institutions in selected areas of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. The report takes stock of recent policy actions taken since the “OECD Review of Innovation Policy: Lithuania 2016”. Drawing on international good practices it explores the scope for improvement in selected areas of STI policy: a) consolidation of innovation agencies and enhancing Lithuania’s STI Council, b) public procurement of innovation , c) mission-oriented innovation policies, and d) industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence. The project has been aligned with ongoing Lithuanian reform processes, some of which are reflected in the ‘New Generation Lithuania’ plan related to the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

This report provides the key findings of an OECD survey on comparability in personal data breach notification (PDBN) reporting that was implemented from June 2019 to February 2020. The main findings show a general trend towards mandatory PDBN regulation and identify internationally comparable data metrics used by privacy enforcement authorities (PEAs). The metrics include the number of reported PDBNs, data on the nature of causes, specific causes, and the types of data breached. In addition, the survey identified the types of questions suitable for internationally comparable data collections by PEAs. These include questions on sectoral application of mandatory PDBN, thresholds and timeframes for notifications to the designated authorities and data subjects, and the use of collected data for enforcement collaboration. The survey also sheds light on some of the possible challenges in improving international comparability such as lack of common standards in the industrial classifications used by PEAs.

Trust between citizens and their governments is crucial for the legitimacy and functioning of democracies. This paper discusses the main determinants of people’s trust in public institutions and their measurement, in times of crisis as well as for a long-term, strong, inclusive and green recovery. It presents evidence on the great variation in the levels and drivers of trust across public institutions, across levels of government within countries, and among population groups. It also identifies three main trust challenges for public governance that were heightened by the COVID-19 crisis: i) people’s views on the credibility and effectiveness of government action on intergenerational and often global challenges; ii) the changes in political participation and political attitudes; and iii) an increasing distrust of and disengagement from democratic processes. Building on previous OECD work, and taking into account lessons from other crises and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the paper introduces a revised and expanded version of the OECD Framework on Drivers of Trust in Public Institutions. Furthermore, it discusses how this Framework is applied in the OECD Trust Survey. Both the Framework and the Survey aim to provide governments with actionable evidence to build and maintain people’s trust as the basis for successful planning and policy reforms, allowing democracies to be fitter, stronger and more resilient in the future.

As data have become a social and economic resource, including for value creation, decision-making, innovation and production, policy makers are facing a number of challenges. Among the most important issues – but also one that is particularly complex – is how to measure the economic value of data to provide a solid evidence base for policymaking. This Going Digital Toolkit note brings clarity about what is meant by the term “data” in the context of efforts to conceptualise and measure the value of data from a statistical perspective. The note also highlights why estimating the value of data is increasingly important, identifies the conceptual and practical measurement challenges faced, and catalogues various innovative initiatives underway across countries in the context of the forthcoming revision of the System of National Accounts and beyond.

Taking gender considerations into account when designing and implementing green recovery measures can contribute both to reducing gender inequalities and achieving environmental objectives. This paper maps the limited presence of gender-sensitive measures in the OECD Green Recovery Database, identifies additional policy areas where gender sensitivity would be beneficial, and proposes policy actions to help countries align their commitments to gender equality and environmental objectives during the COVID-19 recovery.

Education has a fundamental role in promoting the integration of students with an immigrant background in host societies. It can help them acquire skills to participate in the economy, promote their social and emotional well-being and support their participation in the social and civic life of their communities. However, there are challenges in ensuring good outcomes for students with an immigrant background as, among others, they need to overcome adversities related to displacement, socio-economic disadvantage and language barriers. Building on the 2018 Report “The Resilience of Students with an Immigrant Background: Factors that Shape Well-being” by the OECD Strength through Diversity project, this paper analyses the academic, socio‑emotional and motivational resilience of students with an immigrant background across OECD countries. It provides updated findings with data from the OECD’s Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 and examines how outcomes across different student groups have changed in recent years.

As Asian societies continue to undergo rapid economic transformation, income distribution and social stratification are set to change radically. A primary characteristic of this evolution is the emergence of wealthier Asian middle-income classes. While middle-income classes are a heterogeneous group, they often come with new policy expectations, and the extent to which they will call for policy changes that are beneficial to more fragile segments of society remains unclear. This paper investigates the characteristics of different income classes in Asia in order to explore the extent to which the emergence of wealthier Asian middle-income classes could become a driver for more inclusive societies. From this perspective, we assess whether middle-income classes share common characteristics with the poor and the near-poor in six Asian countries, i.e. Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan and Viet Nam. The paper finds that, in some aspects, middle-income classes share a number of similar characteristics with lower income classes. We discuss how this resemblance could result in support for policies that could benefit larger segments of society. We also underline the necessity to better integrate the needs of the poor and the near-poor in policy discussions, especially in areas where the interests of lower and upper income classes do not necessarily converge.

This paper aims to help policy makers understand and improve the conditions for firms to thrive in an increasingly digital economy where data has become an important resource for innovation. The paper: 1) analyses trends in the adoption of information and communication technologies and activities that enable firms to collect, store and use data, including big data analysis (BDA); 2) provides new evidence from micro-econometric analysis of firms’ BDA and innovation in products, processes, marketing and organisation, considering different types of data used for BDA; 3) examines business models of firms that successfully innovate with data; and 4) discusses policies that can help improve the conditions for all firms to go digital and tap into the potential of data for innovation.

Strategic investment funds (SIFs) are instruments of economic and financial policy, and the operations of these funds have important fiscal implications. These implications span the full cycle of the SIFs’ operations, from funding, through capital allocation, to operations and maintenance of the invested assets. SIFs with a capacity to deploy capital efficiently have the potential to increase the effectiveness of the public expenditure programmes in the SIFs’ respective home countries. However, the establishment and operations of SIFs also carry important fiscal risks, which need to be recognised and addressed. This paper considers the flows of capital into and out of SIFs, as well as the relationship of these flows to the fiscal framework and macro-fiscal context of the SIFs’ home countries. It also looks at the fiscal liabilities that can result from SIFs’ activities, and from their possible insolvency and bankruptcy, offering suggestions for how these risks can be mitigated.

Data portability has become an essential tool for enhancing access to and sharing of data across digital services and platforms. This report explores to what extent data portability can empower users (natural and legal persons) to play a more active role in the re-use of their data across digital services and platforms. It also examines how data portability can help increase interoperability and data flows and thus enhance competition and innovation by reducing switching costs and lock-in effects.

During the first decade of the currency union, business cycle fluctuations among Euro Area countries were relatively synchronised and similar in magnitude. This concordance disappeared during the 2008 financial turmoil and the following European sovereign debt crisis, a time when key flaws in the architecture of the euro area became apparent. The recovery helped reduce cross-country differences in unemployment and output gaps, but countries worst hit by the crisis took much longer to recover, and in some cases negative consequences of shocks became entrenched. The COVID-19 crisis could lead to a resurgence in euro area cyclical di-synchronisation, risking to exacerbate economic divergence among member states and putting to the test the macroeconomic stability of the currency union. Diverging cyclical paths among euro area countries originate from differences in economic structures and domestic institutions. However, such differences are compounded by features in the economic policy architecture of the currency union – such as the lack of a common fiscal stabilisation tool – and by remaining frictions in the functioning of the common labour and financial markets. Reforms to the common euro area economic policy framework combined with those to improve labour and capital mobility across euro area members are needed to foster cyclical convergence in the currency union.

Using a micro-level model of investment, this paper finds that firm-debt and investment are negatively associated across firms in Austrian manufacturing industries. The finding is robust to various changes to the model specification. Moreover, in an extension of the basic model, different components of debt are examined, pointing out that debt owed to banks and long-term debt have a stronger negative effect than other forms of debt. Comparisons with investment models estimated for other European countries suggest that the impact of debt on investment is more negative in Austria than elsewhere. Results from interaction models of debt owed to banks with an index of credit easing show that firms in industries which are more bank-dependent invest relatively more than firms in industries that are less bank-dependent after an easing of credit conditions.

Progress in regional convergence in the EU has been uneven over the last two decades. While Central and Eastern Europe has been catching up, Southern Europe has often lost ground, especially after the global financial crisis. Furthermore, within most countries, gaps between large cities and rural areas have widened. Some challenges to convergence have stemmed from worldwide factors – such as globalisation, digitalisation, global warming, and, more recently, COVID19 – but others are European-specific, like incomplete financial integration, less effective fiscal governance and subpar innovation performance.

This paper proposes policy action to reduce regional divergence by helping regions upgrade their productive specialisation. Building on new approaches to regional and industrial policies, Europe needs to exploit the full potential of cross-country cooperation in innovation and of urban agglomeration economies. Competition and trade policies need to ensure a level playing field to enhance the benefits of open and competitive markets while responding to new challenges, such as digitalisation or foreign subsidies. Finally, Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, the two largest EU budget instruments, need to become more effective at promoting productive upgrading.

Les lignes directrices du G20 à Rome pour l’avenir du tourisme identifient les principaux problèmes et opportunités de repenser et de remodeler la politique du tourisme en réponse aux impacts de la pandémie de COVID-19. Il présente des lignes directrices pour l’action qui sont éclairées par la nécessité a) de rétablir la confiance et de permettre la reprise, b) de tirer des leçons de l’expérience de la pandémie et c) de donner la priorité à un programme de développement durable pour guider le tourisme futur. Ils s’artiennent autour de sept domaines d’action interdépendants: i) mobilité sûre, ii) gestion des crises; iii) la résilience; iv) l’inclusivité; v) transformation verte; vi) la transition numérique; et vii) l’investissement et l’infrastructure. Les lignes directrices du G20 à Rome ont été approuvées dans le communiqué de Rome de la réunion des ministres du Tourisme du G20 de 2021.

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