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Engaging with research, and ensuring research evidence is used well, is key to professionalising education policy making processes, and ultimately to improving educational outcomes. But the systematic use of evidence in policy making faces many challenges.

This policy brief draws on evidence from the OECD Strengthening the Impact of Education Research project’s country learning seminars, as well as the project’s policy survey that collected responses from ministries of education in 37 education systems from 29 countries. The project is based in the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). This brief presents a set of case studies on two questions:

• What human resource strategies can build individual and collective civil service professionalism?

• What stable structures and mechanisms can contribute to the systematic and thoughtful use of evidence in policy processes?

Young people are among the most affected by the economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief provides cross-national information on young people’s concerns, perceived vulnerabilities and policy preferences. The results of the OECD Risks That Matter 2020 survey reveal that two in three 18-to-29 year olds are worried about their household’s finances and overall social and economic well-being, and an equal share thinks the government should be doing more to support them. However, only one in four young people are willing to pay additional taxes to finance better provision of employment or income support.


The paper is the first in a series of two papers mapping young people’s environmental sustainability competence in EU and OECD countries that were prepared as background for the forthcoming OECD Skills Outlook 2023 publication. The papers are the results of a collaboration between the OECD Centre for Skills and the European Commission - Joint Research Centre (Unit B4) on students’ environmental sustainability competence. The second paper is titled: ‘The environmental sustainability competence toolbox: From leaving a better planet to our children to leaving better children for our planet’.

While policymakers are rightly concerned about evidence of rising income concentration at the top, it is often wrongly assumed that the same rich individuals stay rich. In reality, the membership of this group are in a state of constant flux. This new study, based on more than 20 million tax records over 10 years, examines the highest income earners in Ireland but also who moves up and down the income ladder over time. While income inequality has increased in most OECD countries, in Ireland it has been broadly stable for most of the income distribution. The top 10% of income earners receive 1/3 of total income and pay around 2/3 of all income tax. Unlike other OECD countries, the top 1% has not expanded its gross income share, partly due to long range downward mobility during the recession for those with the highest incomes. Moreover, more progressive taxation has also reduced the top 1 per cent’s share of disposable income. This paper finds that income inequality increases with age and differs dramatically across economic sectors – the difference between the top 1% and the median is greatest in the professional, financial and health sectors. In the professional sector for example, the top 1% threshold is 12 times the median compared to 3 times in the public sector. The share of employment in these sectors has grown contributing to greater income inequality but also higher upward income mobility. Indeed, the analysis in the paper shows upward income mobility is higher for those working in finance, professional and technical occupations and among the young, those living in Dublin, and those changing jobs. Finally, there is also evidence that economic mobility has declined among median income classes over the past 10 years in Ireland – relatively fewer workers are now moving up or down the income ladder than before.

This paper provides both descriptive and empirical evidence about the main youth labour market problems in Spain. Using the experiences of other EU economies as a benchmark, we document the performance of Spain as regards a wide set of youth labour market dimensions. These include employment and unemployment rates, youth wages, decisions to work and study, youth mobility, type of employment contract, time to find a first job, skill mismatch, etc. Cross-country econometric evidence from different micro-datasets is reported to understand the role played by several underlying supply/demand factors which might explain the difficulties faced by the Spanish youth labour market (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Spain).

The COVID-19 global health emergency and its economic and social impacts have disrupted nearly all aspects of life for all groups in society. People of different ages, however, are experiencing its effects in different ways. Based on survey findings from 90 youth organisations from 48 countries, this policy brief outlines practical measures governments can take to design inclusive and fair recovery measures that leave no one behind.

Spanish, French, Japanese

The gap between youth aspirations and the reality of the labour markets in Africa is large. Career aspirations of young Africans have little in common with current and projected labour demand in the region, making it unlikely that they will go through a smooth school to work transition. Evidence from ten African countries shows that what youth in these countries value most is job security, such as work in the public sector. Agriculture-related work or medium-skilled jobs in manufacturing are the least attractive for young Africans. Policies can help address the misalignment between youth employment preferences and employment opportunities. A two-pronged approach is recommended: i) helping young people shape career aspirations that are realistic and that can fit with the world they will be entering, and ii) improving the quality of jobs with due regard to the job conditions that matter for young people.

  • 28 Mar 2017
  • Francesca Borgonovi, Artur Pokropek, François Keslair, Britta Gauly, Marco Paccagnella
  • Pages: 117

This paper uses data from PISA and the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) to examine the evolution of socio-economic and gender disparities in literacy and numeracy proficiency between the ages of 15 and 27 in the sample of countries that took part in both studies. Socio-economic disparities are exacerbated between the age of 15 and 27 and the socio-economic gap in proficiency widens, particularly among low-achievers. Gender disparities in literacy at age 15 are marked across the performance spectrum but are particularly wide among low-performers. However, by age 24 there is no difference in the literacy proficiency of males and females. The gender gap in numeracy at age 15 is quantitatively small when compared with the gap in literacy, although it is more pronounced among high achievers. The paper canvasses possible explanations for the trends observed and discusses implications for policy and practice, including the extent to which the lack of an established link between PISA and PIAAC limits the analytical value of the two studies.

How young people use transport matters for society. Transport connects them to education, work, friends and other opportunities. Mobility patterns of the younger generation also matter for sustainability, economic development, liveability, health and well-being. Yet, young people’s views are rarely factored into transport policy explicitly. This report addresses the gap by reviewing young citizens’ travel patterns and behaviours, identifying their expectations regarding mobility and life opportunities and investigating their mobility-relevant experiences, capabilities and skills. To maximise the potential of youth, it is important that governments, communities, and other stakeholders ensure all young people have access to safe and affordable transport. It is also important to engage young people in the planning and implementation of transport initiatives so that their needs are met.

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