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©OECD Observer No 301, Q4 2014
The GDP growth story over the past year or two has been one of diverging trends, with relative buoyancy returning to economies such as Sweden, the UK and the US, but with the euro area still looking off colour. How have the crisis and subsequent economic growth patterns affected the actual size of each country’s economy compared to 2007? Have OECD countries recovered their pre-crisis levels of GDP?
Did you know that the pace of productivity growth is slowing sharply across the OECD area? Moreover, the trend has continued downward since the early 2000s after a brief upward tick in the 1980s and 1990s, which in part reflected the diffusion of new information and communications technologies
More women go to work today than 40 years ago, but their pay has not kept pace with men’s. Some 58% of women on average in the OECD area worked in 2008, up from 45% in 1970, ranging from 70% of women in the Nordic countries to less than 50% in Greece, Italy, Mexico and Turkey. Indeed, with fewer women staying at home, dual-earner families are now commonplace in most OECD countries; only in Japan, Mexico and Turkey are single-income families more common. However, men are often still the main earners in dual-earner families because so many women work part-time and for lower wages than their husbands. In the Netherlands, a relatively egalitarian country, 60% of women work part time, compared with 16% of men.
Girls have overtaken boys in the literacy stakes when it comes to reading, both in their ability to understand what they read and in their tendency to read for pleasure.
A litre of diesel has around 10% more combustion energy than petrol, but produces roughly 18% more CO2 emissions.
Case studies of specific products, particularly in the electronics industry, show that value creation along a global value chain tends to be unevenly distributed among activities.
People are by far the most important input when building quality education. So it is little surprise that teachers’ salaries represent the largest single cost item in the labour intensive education system. Salaries and working conditions play an important role in attracting, motivating and retaining skilled teachers. Teachers are the backbone of the education sector which is a crucial determinant of productivity and growth.
If you feel like happiness is the truth, you might be well poised to stop clapping along with Pharrell Williams, and start seeking out a new place to settle up north. While Switzerland topped the list of the happiest OECD countries in 2012, the high ranks were dominated by the Nordic circle of Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark.
Dementia is a devastating condition for which there is no cure available. Care is costly, financially and emotionally. The cost for health systems is likely to rise in ageing societies. The condition damages the brain, and leads to a decline in a person’s functional and cognitive capabilities.
The OECD does not see deflation taking hold in the euro area, but the risk has risen.
The total number of deaths attributed to airborne pollution continues to decrease across the OECD world, largely thanks to regulatory policies for transport vehicle emissions and technological improvements. Between 2005 and 2010, pollution-related mortalities fell by 4% from approximately 498,000 cases a year, to just over 478,000. But a closer look reveals a more worrying picture. Outside of the EU, only the US and Israel have successfully attained reductions in deaths, while 14 other member countries–including Australia, Canada and Japan–actually recorded an increase in the absolute number of mortalities.
Immigration became a heated subject of debate during the European Parliament elections in May 2014. Economists are now asking whether anti-immigrant sentiment can be attributed to fiscal, as well as social, factors.
The River Seine overflowing its banks is not an uncommon sight in Paris, as the winter catchment swells, causing water levels to rise and cover the lower banks, jetties and walkways.
While today Japan is one of the world’s largest and most advanced economies, a member of the G7 and the most developed country in Asia, in 1964 the picture was quite different.
Small and medium-sized enterprises refers to firms of up to 250 workers each, but did you know that these so-called SMEs make up some 90% of employment in the OECD area?
Some 18% of the total OECD arable and permanent cropland area was sown with transgenic crops in the period including 2008 to 2010.
Optimism has proved to be another major victim of the economic crisis, according to How’s Life? Indeed, people’s long-term expectations about their subjective well-being fi ve years from now have deteriorated almost everywhere in the OECD area. And most of them don’t expect things to get much better.
Case studies of specific products, particularly in the electronics industry, show that value creation along a global value chain tends to be unevenly distributed among activities. The highest value creation is found in upstream activities, such as the development of a new concept, research and development (R&D) and the manufacturing of key components. But it is also found in downstream activities, such as marketing, branding and customer service.
Latin America’s future as a region of innovation will be far from secure if investment in research and development (R&D) continues at current low levels.
Everyone needs to be sufficiently financially literate to take informed decisions for themselves and their families as to their savings, investments, pensions and more. But in many countries, women have lower financial knowledge than men, and are less confident in their financial knowledge and skills.
People who have completed tertiary education can generally expect to earn more than those who don’t. But governments and societies benefit from these people’s investments as well.
Job losses can prove costly for individuals, as well as to society. Financial distress, for example, can lead to health problems and crime. While policies like unemployment benefits, job-search assistance and skills training can help ease the personal impact of job loss, they can be expensive. Consequently, governments also turn to policies that protect employees from losing their jobs in the first place.
Will this be Asia’s century? When it comes to growth and social progress, there have been heady leaps forward, with every prospect of continued dynamism over the next five years. But according to the Southeast Asian Economic Outlook 2013, if there is a blot on the map, it is in tackling poverty and the wide development gaps that bedevil the continent.
Patients in most OECD countries face long hospital waiting times, whether for primary care, out-patient specialist care or even emergency care. Tax payers rightly expect better service, and hospital waiting times are understandably a contentious political issue.
Cities that want healthier populations should get them moving. In the US, where urban sprawl and personal motorised vehicle are prevalent, walking makes up only 8.6% of all trips, by far the lowest proportion in our chart.
Headline economic data
|GDP||+0.5% Q3 2014 (+0.4% Q2 2014)|
|Trade||+1.5% exp, -0,8% imp, Q2 2014 (G7 and BRIICS)|
|Inflation||+1.7% Sep 2014 (+1.8% Aug) annual|
|Unemployment||7.2% Sep 2014 (7.3% Aug 2014)|
Data for OECD area. Latest update: 20 Nov 2014
Databank - Latest quarterly data by country
For details on these and other numbers, click titles or visit www.oecd.org/statistics
Making strides in scientific innovation is no longer an initiative of just a few select high-income countries. Research and innovation have become increasingly democratised; indeed, Asia’s emerging economies are now gaining prominence as world hubs of scientific research. While the United States remains at the top in terms of the volume of scientific publications produced and collaborations made, these countries are eager to develop their own innovation capabilities, and strengthen their research and academic partnerships.
More students are looking beyond their borders to give their education a competitive edge.
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