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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This third edition of the Regional Outlook continues to emphasise the untapped growth, productivity and well-being potential associated with cities and regions. The first edition of the Regional Outlook in 2011 identified at least two major trends requiring a better integration of the subnational perspective in OECD policy agendas. One trend was the persistent low productivity growth in most OECD countries. To tap into broader sources of productivity gains, the Regional Outlook 2011 was advocating a more integrated strategy, consolidating economy-wide structural policies by complementing them with place-based policies. A second trend is the observed disconnect between the quest for productivity on one side, and individual well-being on the other, that has generated the need to consider the three pillars of efficiency, equity and environmental sustainability. Subsequently, the Regional Outlook 2014 reckoned that well-being is intrinsically local and needs to be constructed by aligning policies from the top to the relevant scale: the places where people live and work.

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