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OECD Regional Outlook 2016

Productive Regions for Inclusive Societies

image of OECD Regional Outlook 2016

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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Regional productivity gaps and their consequences

While there will always be some form of interregional gaps, those regions lagging behind should have opportunities to catch up in terms of social and economic development. This chapter considers the implications of the OECD trends of low levels of national labour productivity growth for different types of regions, including the differences between regions that are catching up to the frontier and those that are falling behind. It explores the dynamics of regions in the OECD and the extent to which certain regions are, or are not, catching up. It then addresses the implications of these trends for the well-being of people living in different cities and regions, as the regional and local level are at the nexus of productivity and inclusion. Finally, it outlines the three broad types of public action that can be used to boost productivity in lagging regions and address inclusion. They are: structural policies, public investment (including through regional development policies), and multi-level governance reforms.

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