Why growth counts

Going for Growth 2006: Economic Policy Reforms
OECD Observer

OECD governments have been more effective at bringing in reforms to raise labour productivity than at helping increase the number of people in work, according to this progress report on action taken over the past year to enhance economic growth in each of the 30 OECD member countries.

The OECD’s second Going for Growth report assesses the extent to which governments have followed the policy recommendations it published a year ago (see below). By using a number of benchmark indicators ranging from labour costs and levels of educational attainment to obstacles against business start-ups and foreign direct investment, the first report, issued in 2005, identified areas of weakness and outlined policy priorities for each country.

The 2006 edition of Going for Growth shows mixed results. To raise labour productivity, many governments have recently introduced, or initiated, laws to ease restrictions on business activity and boost competition. In the EU, for instance, a draft directive to allow businesses to sell their services in any other EU country, though controversial, is currently under negotiation. In Japan, the competition law has been reinforced. In Germany, nation-wide educational standards have been agreed in some fields, while most other countries identified as needing to strengthen some aspect of their education system are taking relevant measures.

But there has been less progress in increasing the number of people in the workforce, identified in the last report as a priority for many OECD countries. Reforms to remove tax incentives for retiring early have been limited, while legislators have shown little enthusiasm for easing employment protection in those countries where it is seen to hamper job creation. However, the report notes greater progress in reforming sickness and disability benefits in Australia, Britain, Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The new Going for Growth report extends the scope of its surveillance of government policy by introducing benchmark indicators in the area of innovation, considered by the OECD to be one of the main engines of long-term economic growth. The indicators allow comparisons in areas such as the intensity of research and development with the more advanced economies, like the US. Where specific weaknesses are identified in a country, the report recommends what steps the government should take.

In a separate chapter the report also investigates whether GDP per head is an effective measure of well-being, a question which has previously been touched on in this magazine and which has stimulated considerable debate in the media.

ISBN 92-64-03591-5 (2006 edition).

ISBN 92-64-00836-5 (2005 edition).

©OECD Observer No 254, March 2006

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive print editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • “Nizip” refugee camp visit
    July 2016: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría visits the “Nizip” refugee camp, situated between Gaziantep and the Turkish-Syrian border, accompanied by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek. The camp accommodates a small number of the 2.75 million Syrians currently registered in Turkey, mostly outside the camps. In his tour of the camp, Mr Gurría visits a school, speaks with refugees and gives a short interview.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • Queen Maxima of the Netherlands gives a speech next to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (not pictured) during the International Forum of Financial Inclusion at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico June 21, 2016.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • OECD Environment Director Simon Upton presented a talk at Imperial College London on 21 April 2016. With the world awash in surplus oil and prices languishing around US$40 per barrel, how can governments step up efforts to transform the world’s energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement?
  • Happy 10th birthday to Twitter. This 2008 OECD Observer interview with Henry Copeland said you’d do well.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Once migrants reach Europe, countries face integration challenge: OECD's Thomas Liebig speaks to NPR's Audie Cornish.

  • Message from the International Space Station to COP21

  • The carbon clock is ticking: OECD’s Gurría on CNBC

  • If we want to reach zero net emissions by the end of the century, we must align our policies for a low-carbon economy, put a price on carbon everywhere, spend less subsidising fossil fuels and invest more in clean energy. OECD at #COP21 – OECD statement for #COP21
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Pole to Paris Project
  • In order to face global warming, Asia needs at least $40 billion per year, derived from both the public and private sector. Read how to bridge the climate financing gap on the Asian Bank of Development's website.
  • How can cities fight climate change?
    Discover projects in Denmark, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.
  • Climate: What's changed, what hasn't, what we can do about it.
    Lecture by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, hosted by the London School of Economics and Aviva Investors in association with ClimateWise, London, UK, 3 July 2015.
  • Is technological progress slowing down? Is it speeding up? At the OECD, we believe the research from our Future of ‪Productivity‬ project helps to resolve this paradox.
  • Is inequality bad for growth? That redistribution boosts economies is not established by the evidence says FT economics editor Chris Giles. Read more on www.ft.com.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles


What issue are you most concerned about in 2016?

Euro crisis
International conflict
Global warming

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2016