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E-commerce -- an application of the Internet -- has expanded exponentially over the past 5 years and is widely expected to continue to develop rapidly in the medium-term. Much, however, remains to be done to fully exploit the opportunities offered by e-commerce. And as e-commerce develops, it could have profound impacts in individual sectors of the economy as well as for macroeconomic performance and economic policies. This paper assesses the potential outcomes and economic impacts of e-commerce in the business to business and business to consumer spheres; the forces underlying its expansion and the possible implications for structural and macroeconomic policy management ...

In this paper, we analyse the potential contribution of the Internet and its commercial application to the development process in poor countries. In historical perspective, the Internet has diffused at a far faster rate than earlier generations of communications technology: from 1990 to early 2000, the estimated number of Internet users grew more than tenfold to roughly 300 million, affecting the way in which people communicate with each other, acquire information, learn, do business, and interact culturally. Our particular focus is on the opportunities e-commerce offers to small-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries and the challenges they face in exploiting e-commerce’s potential.

There is a risk that a “digital divide” will emerge, reinforcing existing income and wealth inequalities within and between countries. Yet, a major potential benefit of globalisation is the freer movement of technology, including information and communication technology (ICT), across borders. In ...

Electronic means of communication can greatly simplify the publication of public contracts and increase the efficiency and transparency of procurement processes. SIGMA Brief 17 explains what is meant by e-procurement and aims to explain the rationale behind using e-procurement, presenting country examples and resulting improvements. The Brief also provides an overview of the relevant rules of the EU Directives and different e-procurement tools such as e-auctions, e-catalogues or dynamic purchasing systems.
Books have undergone a massive transformation from a physical object to something entirely different: the electronic book, or “e-book”. This report provides background on e-book markets and examines various policy issues related to e-books. These include differing tax rates in countries between physical books and e-books, consumer lock-in to specific platforms, limitations on how users can read and share their purchased content, and a lack of transparency about how data on their reading habits is being used.

This brief discusses how the COVID-19 crisis is accelerating an expansion of e-commerce towards new firms, customers and types of products, likely involving a long-term shift of e-commerce transactions from luxury goods and services to everyday necessities. It also highlights how policy makers can leverage the potential of digital transformation in retail and related areas to support business adaptation and to enhance social distancing, while ensuring that no one is left behind.


In this paper the authors describe the outline of an analysis of disruptive technologies presented by Christensen in his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. They go on to argue that the analysis can be applied to the practice of e-learning as it has been developed in higher education in the United Kingdom, and possibly elsewhere. They suggest that current moves away from fully developed e-learning and towards “blended learning” can be understood in terms of Christensen’s analysis, and that the move may be an indication that large, established organisations have difficulty in adjusting to disruptive technologies. They conclude that much research needs to be done in the area of e-learning, especially small scale studies of how e-learning can be used away from the established culture of formal education. This is an approach to market research that is also contained in Christensen’s analysis. In summary, they argue that Christensen’s analysis offers some important insights into the process of adopting e-learning solutions in higher education, and also suggests some fruitful directions for future research.


One year ago most economic observers predicted that "fundamentals" were such that the euro was set to appreciate. In the event, the opposite has occurred. This has rekindled a debate on how well foreign exchange markets reflect fundamental determinants and led to calls for greater exchange rate stability, possibly through the introduction of formal exchange rate target zones. The first part of the paper focuses on these issues. It also looks at the euro’s prospects as an international currency. To give a better sense of perspective, the paper compares recent exchange rate movements and measures of volatility with longerterm trends. The article argues that the difference in cyclical conditions in the United States and the euro area seems to have been a dominant factor driving the sizeable euro depreciation since early 1999, although when evaluated against longer term trends it appears much less dramatic; the euro is presently at about its past 5-year average level expressed in nominal effective terms ...

The OECD Document “Convergence and Next Generation Networks” analysed developments in Next Generation Networks (NGN), and the convergence of core and access networks. The aim of that paper was to review areas where policy changes may be required and to put forward recommendations for considerations in areas where change may be necessary to support new developments and to ensure that telecommunication policy goals can be met. The paper depicted areas of regulatory interest, arising from the deployment of NGN. The objective was to identify policy and regulatory issues that government and national regulatory authorities may have to confront in the framework of the development of core next generation networks. It noted that the issue of ‘Numbering, naming and addressing” was a policy area that would need further analysis and that ENUM was one of the potentially significant developments in the converging world of telephone numbering, naming and addressing.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) products are increasingly being used as a tool to assess the alignment of company targets and objectives with actions to support an orderly low-carbon transition. Building on existing OECD research on ESG ratings, and particularly the environmental ‘E’ pillar, this report seeks to understand the underlying data and metrics developed by ESG rating providers and their alignment with lower carbon emissions as well as with climate frameworks and initiatives.

The stepwise liberalisation of the EU internal aviation market resulted in 1993 in an open internal market that generated a series of supply side responses, which are partly comparable with the changes demonstrated in the deregulated US domestic air transport market. However, the starting point was quite different between these two markets. For example, until the deregulation in 1978, US legacy carriers operated a domestic crisscross network whereas the two flag carriers, Pan Am and TWA operated at various US gateways in stand-alone international networks based on the bilateral air service agreements concluded between the US and other states. After the deregulation, domestic major carriers transformed their crisscross domestic networks into radial hub and spoke networks (except the Delta hub at Atlanta that already existed before the deregulation). The domestic hubs in these networks also became the launching platforms for international operations when these domestic major carriers started to use their domestic feed for international operations. All in all, the former domestic major carriers became the new flag carriers in international markets, whereas the former two flag carriers went bankrupt due to the lack of domestic feed in order to adequately compete with these new internationally operating airlines.

New teachers entering the profession are said to bring with them enthusiasm, idealism and recent training – a promising combination for innovative teaching. However, these early career teachers are also commonly portrayed as professionals facing exceptional challenges, with fragile identities who leave the career in high proportions. Can these new teachers help schools to innovate while trying to perform as effective teachers during their initial years? This paper argues that the difficulties most early career teachers encounter, which have largely remained unchanged over the last 50 years, are embedded characteristics of the teaching profession. Further, it discusses the importance of the first five years of the teacher career in acquiring critical professional skills, and highlights the importance of context over experience per se. The paper concludes by making the case that these first five years could work as a residency for early career teachers – similar to that of medical training – where they could receive support to experiment in sheltered environments. This professional residency might represent a policy milestone in the building of a continuum of teachers’ professional growth and development.

More mothers with young children are in paid work than in the past. There is a long-running debate on possible negative effects of maternal employment on child development. For the first time, this paper presents an initial comparative analysis of longitudinal data on maternal employment patterns after birth on child cognitive and behavioural development. The paper examines data of five OECD countries with different types and intensity of support provided to families to reconcile work and family life. The evidence suggests that a return to paid work by mothers within six months after childbirth may have negative effects on child outcomes, particularly on cognitive development, but the effects are small and not universally observed. Other factors such as family income, parental education and quality of interaction with children have greater influences on child development than early maternal employment per se.

The early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce is foundational for providing high-quality learning, development and well-being experiences for young children. Policies can support the development of this workforce by addressing requirements for initial education and continuing professional development, as well as the working conditions of ECEC staff. Examining different policy approaches with a focus on Ireland and Luxembourg, this Policy Brief highlights key opportunities for peer learning across countries interested in enhancing process quality in ECEC through workforce development.

Many workers experience large fluctuations in before-tax labour earnings from one year to the next, due to changes in working hours, movements in and out of work and changes in pay. Youth entering the labour market and workers in non-standard jobs (such as temporary employment or self-employment) are the most likely to experience both large increases and large decreases in earnings. Other workers, such as those with a low level of education, poor health or approaching retirement, have only an increased chance of experiencing a large drop in earnings. It is often difficult for workers to predict changes in earnings and assess whether these are temporary or permanent. Additionally, private insurance and financial markets are poorly equipped to protect households against earnings fluctuations. Large drops in individual earnings are associated with an increased risk of household poverty and financial stress, with the impact largest in the poorest households. Tax and welfare systems can help buffer households against volatile earnings. Taxes play a prominent role in reducing the impact of earnings fluctuations among full-time workers, while transfers such as unemployment benefits and social assistance are more important when volatility is due to movements into or out of work.
The OECD’s “Average-Wage” (AW) concept is commonly used as a benchmark for tax-benefit and pension modeling. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether it is possible to use richer sets of earnings data in order to customize these modeling exercises to the situation of different groups of workers, such as high or low-earning men or women. We first take stock of available sources of earnings distribution data and provide a careful assessment of measurement and definitional differences relative to the AW. In a second step, information on the shape of earnings distributions in OECD countries is used to derive synthetic distributions around the AW, distinguishing between the earnings of men and women. We argue that this pragmatic approach yields data that allow extending the scope of tax-benefit and pensions modelling. Moreover, it does so in a way that is consistent with past modeling exercises that relied on the AW. We highlight data quality issues and discuss the potential limitations of the imputed AW-consistent earnings distributions.
The present report seeks to inform critical questions with regard to policy mixes of investments in adaptation and mitigation, and how they might vary over time. This is facilitated here by examining adaptation within global Integrated Assessment Modelling frameworks. None of the existing Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) captures adaptation satisfactorily. Many models do not specify the damages from climate change, and those that do mostly assume implicitly that adaptation is set at an “optimal” level that minimizes the sum total of the costs of adaptation and the residual climate damages that might occur. This report develops and applies a framework for the explicit incorporation of adaptation in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs). It provides a consistent framework to investigate “optimal” balances between investments in mitigating climate change, investments in adapting to climate change and accepting (future) climate change damages. By including adaptation into IAMs these already powerful tools for policy analysis are further improved and the interactions between mitigation and adaptation can be analysed in more detail. To demonstrate the approach a framework for incorporating adaptation as a policy variable was developed for two IAMs– the global Dynamic Integrated model for Climate and the Economy (DICE) and its regional counterpart, the Regional Integrated model for Climate and the Economy (RICE). These modified models – AD-DICE and AD-RICE – are calibrated and then used in a number of policy simulations to examine the distribution of adaptation costs and the interactions between adaptation and mitigation. Using the limited information available in current models, and calibrating to a specific damage level, so-called adaptation cost curves are estimated for the world. Adaptation cost curves are also estimated for different regions, although given the limited information available to calibrate the regional curves these should be considered as rough approximations of the actual adaptation potential in the different regions. These adaptation cost curves reflect how different adaptation levels will provide a wedge between gross damages (i.e. damages that would occur in the absence of adaptation) and residual damages. The analysis presented suggests that a good adaptation policy matters especially when suboptimal mitigation policies are implemented. Similarly, a good mitigation strategy is more important when optimal adaptation levels are unattainable. The rationale for this result is that both policy control options can compensate to some extent for deviations from the efficient outcome caused by non-optimality of the other control option. It should be noted, however, that in many cases there are limits to adaptation with regard to the magnitude and rate of climate change. The higher the current value of damages, the more important mitigation is as a policy option in comparison to adaptation. The comparison between adaptation and mitigation therefore depends crucially on the assumptions in the model, and especially on the discount rate and the level of future damages. The policy simulations also suggest that to combat climate change in an efficient way, short term optimal policies would consist of a mixture of substantial investments in adaptation measures, coupled with investments in mitigation, even though the latter will only decrease damages in the longer term. The costs of inaction are high, and thus it is more important to start acting on mitigation and adaptation even when there is limited information on which to base the policies, than to ignore the problems climate change already poses. Ongoing increases in expected damages over time imply that adaptation is not an option that should be considered only for the coming decades, but it will be necessary to keep investing in adaptation options, as both the challenges and benefits of adaptation increase. The results of these policy simulations confirm the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the relationship between adaptation and mitigation as described in the Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Report. The framework developed in this report opens the door for further simulations that examine adaptation cost issues within other, more complex IAMs. The model additions investigated in this report can also shed light on how the next generation of IAMs will look. These tools can also be further strengthened by the incorporation of more detailed regional knowledge on the impacts of climate change and of adaptation options.

Accessibility is one of the key aspects of current transport planning, especially in reliance to public transport and pedestrian traffic facilities. This paper deals with this subject by outlining which are or could be the benefits of improved accessibility to the transport system with a special focus on economic benefits and the tourism sector. Therefore selected existing studies will be analysed. Besides the legal background and social aspects of accessibility related to the transport sector will be covered.
The first section deals with the legal background and social aspects of accessibility in the transport sector. It shows that nowadays in many countries accessibility of transport systems is not a voluntary task but a task bound by law and that an accessible environment is not only essential for people with disabilities and necessary for up to 40% of the population but also a matter of comfort for all users.
The second section outlines which are or could be the economic benefits of improved accessibility to the transport system. Two studies from Norway used the states preference method to monetize and prioritise different universal design measures. In general this method seems to work also as a tool for analyzing economic benefits of accessibility measures. Nevertheless the results of these studies have to be interpreted with extreme caution in order to avoid discrimination.
The third section deals with the economic impact of accessible tourism using the example of Europe. The inducible impact of accessible tourism on the transport sector as well as the relevance of passenger transportation for accessible tourism on the transport sector as well as the relevance of passenger transportation for accessible tourism is elaborated. All in all accessible tourism produces a huge economic impact on the tourism sector and beyond, and by improving accessibility in the future a significant raise on of economic benefits is possible. In general traffic is precondition for tourism. Besides tourists spend a significant part of their travel expenses for the journey to the destination and back and for local transportation. This makes it clear that accessible transport systems will directly benefit from an increasing accessible tourism market.

This paper begins by motivating the need for including “wider economic effects” when conducting transport infrastructure appraisal, followed by a discussion of various techniques to do so. The major focus is on studies from the cost function perspective that incorporate spillover benefits from public infrastructure capital, with a presentation of applications on highways, airports, and ports infrastructure stocks. The substantial differences between approaches focusing on “narrow” and “wider” impacts is evaluated, along with discussion of how application of the tools of spatial econometrics has facilitated estimation of models that capture wider economic benefits.
Substantial numbers of children in the advanced industrialized countries experience child abuse and neglect each year, resulting in considerable social, emotional, and economic costs to both the children themselves and to their societies as a whole. Yet, whereas scholars and policymakers have grown increasingly concerned with promoting child well-being, particularly among low income children, limited attention has been paid to child maltreatment. This paper reviews the existing research on the economic determinants and consequences of child abuse and neglect, drawing on theoretical and empirical studies from a wide range of disciplines. We first provide background information about child maltreatment in advanced industrialized countries. Next, we present current theory and empirical evidence regarding links between low income and child maltreatment. We then turn to the evidence on the long-term consequences of maltreatment. Finally, we conclude with a brief discussion of interventions to prevent abuse and neglect. We argue that results from a large number of studies clearly imply that economic resources play an important role in influencing risk for child abuse and (particularly) child neglect, although conclusive causal evidence has thus far been elusive. Furthermore, existing evidence that child abuse and neglect impose tremendous long-term costs both to victims and to society as a whole justifies heightened efforts to reduce child maltreatment. Finally, although a few proven programs exist, the evidence base with regard to effective policies and programs for preventing maltreatment is generally quite weak. Additional rigorous research across the advanced industrialized countries is necessary to promote a better understanding of the economic determinants and consequences of abuse and neglect, as well as the efficacy of policies and programs aimed at preventing child maltreatment and ameliorating its adverse effects.

This Working Paper presents a cross-Directorate Report on the economic, budgetary, regulatory and urbanpolicy implications of the earthquakes which struck the Marmara and Bolu areas of Turkey on 17 August and 12 November 1999. The earthquakes caused high casualties and significant material damage to property, with severe effects on economic activity. The Report traces the factors underlying Turkey’s vulnerability to earthquake damage, along a known active fault line, to deficiencies in risk identification procedures and risk-reduction methods, as well as to the absence of risk transfer and financing techniques. It suggests that these deficiencies may stem from the nature of recent Turkish economic development, which has been driven by the need to assimilate a mass migration from the countryside to the cities and has been associated with extremely high and variable inflation. Ensuring a more orderly future development requires both an overhaul of governance structures in ...

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