OECD Regional Outlook 2016

Productive Regions for Inclusive Societies

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Regions and cities are where the effects of policies to promote economic growth and social inclusion are felt in day-to-day life. The OECD Regional Outlook 2016 examines the widening productivity gap across regions within countries, and the implications of these trends for the well-being of people living in different places. It discusses how structural policies, public investment and multi-level governance reforms can help boost productivity and address inclusion. Drawing on a survey of OECD countries, the Outlook  highlights country practices in regional, urban, and rural development policy that guide public investment. The Special Focus Part II on rural areas looks at different types of rural area and their productivity performance trends, and suggests that countries move towards a “Rural Policy 3.0”. The Policy Forum on Regions and Cities: Implementing Global Agendas includes chapters by many leading global organisations on how regions and cities can be instrumental in achieving the targets of agreements such as the Paris Accord and the Sustainable Development Goals.  Individual country profiles provide an overview of regional, urban and rural development policies as well as performance in terms of productivity and well-being among different regions.

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Belgium is a federal country with a population of 11.2 million. Subnational governments are responsible for 42.8% of total government spending, ranking it the 11th most decentralised country in the OECD with regards to public spending. However, in terms of public investment, Belgian subnational governments are responsible for almost 90%, a share that has increased since 1995 and is the 2nd highest share in the OECD. With 5.3 municipalities per 100 000 inhabitants, Belgium is in the middle range of the OECD in terms of subnational administrative fragmentation. It is the 5th most urbanised country in the OECD, with 68% of people living in predominantly urban regions generating 75% of the country’s GDP.

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