The Friday fish

A weekly catch from behind the headlines on
OECD Observer

No 3: Shifting wealth; German jobs; Savings priority; Health of nations; Is there life on Mars; Reduce or recycle; Global governance; Trade up services; Helping public officials think fast; CleanGovBiz 

Shifting wealth

China could overtake the US as the world's largest economy by 2016. India will overtake it by 2060, according to these projections just released. More…

German jobs

The recent economic crisis had a fairly benign impact on German unemployment compared to many other advanced economies. Although a number of reasons are often cited for this, much comes down to the fact that, unlike most OECD countries, Germany pushed a large number of labour market reforms in the ten years that preceded the crisis. More…

Savings priority

Personal savings and investments are not just important for individuals and households, they are critical for economic growth. This in part explains why many governments encourage people to save more. But not everyone understands or has access to financial markets. This paper by Sue Lewis and Flore-Anne Messy  looks at some of the strategies that policymakers have developed to influence whether and how we save. More…

Health of nations

Would you rather have a sudden appendicitis attack in the United States or Belgium? Measuring the quality, and value, of healthcare is challenging, but governments require this type of information for better policymaking in this critical sector. Improving Value in Health Care: Measuring Quality considers this tricky topic. More…

Is there life on Mars?

If water was present on Mars for "thousands or millions of years", what happened for it to disappear? Such questions are a wake-up call about water on our own planet. OECD's Julia Laplane explains. More…

Reduce or recycle

Everyone knows tomatoes rot, but ever wonder why tomatoes in some supermarkets come individually wrapped in cellophane? A detail perhaps, but it's an example of debatable and unsustainable management of the materials we consume. Sustainable management of materials, on the other hand, helps to minimise environmental impacts. This policy brief outlines the issues and how to improve material management based on a 3R principle: reduce, reuse, recycle. More…

Global governance

Drugs and arms trafficking, trade in protected wildlife and toxic waste, diverting markets for illicit ends. Overcoming the dark side of globalisation requires better international co-operation, indicators and analyses. Here are several very readable presentations, including a paper by David Luna, Director of the Transnational Threats and Illicit Networks in the US state department's anti-crime programs. More…

Trade up services

Why are services left behind in the global market place? International trade in goods has opened up, but trade in services is often held back by domestic regulations and other barriers. This is a wasted opportunity for areas like healthcare, retail banking, insurance, consulting, and more. Services generate more than two-thirds of GDP globally, employ the most workers in major economies and create more new jobs than any other sector. The OECD is building a Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) to help identify areas for policy action.

Helping public officials think fast

Today, OECD governments face the dual challenge of tight budget constraints and bolstering public services. Innovative thinking is needed, and the OECD is developing an Observatory of Public Sector Innovation to help. The new observatory aims to systematically collect, categorise, analyse and share innovative practices from across the public sector, via an online interactive database. Worth checking out. More…


CleanGovBiz is the OECD's new integrity toolkit to help build integrity and fight corruption together with business and civil society. It covers a range of instruments, such as public procurement, company practices, the prosecution of bribery, and more. This speech by OECD Deputy Secretary-General Richard Boucher provides a clear outline of how the toolkit and initiatives supporting it operate. More…

The Friday fish #3 ©OECD Observer, 9 November 2012

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