The Friday fish

A weekly catch from behind the headlines on oecd.org
OECD Observer

No 5: Broadband economics; Business climate; Better boards; Health spending down; Korea works; COP on about climate; Renewable energy inventions; Bad debt, good cuts?; Hearing the poor 

Broadband economics

Is slow Internet frustrating you or your business? This paper by Shane Greenstein and Ryan McDevitt provides estimates of the economic value created by broadband Internet. Evidence from 30 OECD countries suggests that economic value created in these economies correlates roughly with the overall size of their broadband economies. More

Paying for the future

Can higher childcare funding and better pay for teachers help ensure that your children will be better off than you? This paper by Orsetta Causa and Åsa Johansson suggests that such policy-influenced factors can indeed support intergenerational social mobility. More

Business climate

Decarbonising the world's energy system, moving towards a resource efficient economy and providing universal energy access for all will require doubling existing investment levels to around US$2 trillion a year. With their US$71 trillion in assets, institutional investors potentially have an important role to play. Indeed, low interest rates and clean energy projects may just be the characteristics that institutional investors look for. Why then–outside the major pension funds and insurance companies–are institutional investor allocations to clean energy projects so limited? Christopher Kaminker and Fiona Stewart examine this potential for a marriage made in heaven. More…

Better boards

Ever wonder how board members are nominated or elected? Many people blame poor corporate governance for the economic and financial crisis, and the OECD is scrutinising board room practices around the world in a bid to identify better practices. This review compares board room nominations and elections, and also how board members are removed, in four countries: Indonesia, Korea, the Netherlands and the US. A bit technical but a handy insight nonetheless. More…

Health spending down

The crisis and budget reduction drives have hit health spending in Europe, which fell for the first time in decades in 2010. According to Health at a Glance: Europe 2012, a new joint report by the OECD and the European Commission, health spending per capita in EU countries fell to by 0.6% , which is the first time health spending has fallen in Europe since 1975. In Ireland, for instance, health spending fell 7.9% in 2010, compared with an average annual growth rate of 6.5% between 2000 and 2009. More

Korea works

The Korean labour market seems to have made a quick recovery from the economic crisis. In May 2012, Korea's unemployment rate was 3.2%, 0.2% point lower than a year earlier, and is almost down to its pre-crisis level of 3.1%. More

COP on about climate

Disappointed by last year's UN Durban Conference on climate change? True, it produced no major breakthroughs, but at least it maintained the global momentum in the fight against global warming, which may be built on in the upcoming UN COP18 Climate Change Conference in Doha, from 26 November to 7 December.

The OECD is making a major contribution to this UN event, focusing on explaining how climate protection and economic growth can be combined: first, by improving the design and governance of carbon market mechanisms, as detailed in this brand new report by OECD/IEA’s Climate Change Expert Group (CCXG); second, by fostering private investments for a greener, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, as this recent working paper explains. Investment was discussed in this evidence-based roundtable in September, and will give rise to an OECD side-event at the Doha conference.

Renewable energy inventions

Tackling energy and climate change depends on developing renewable energy, but are we innovating fast enough? The Determinants of Invention in Electricity Generation Technologies looks at patent data, and shows that as fossil fuel prices rise, inventive activity in renewable energy technologies also rises, as do efforts in improving fossil fuel-based technologies. But there is no effect on nuclear technology patents. More…

Bad debt, good cuts?

Reducing public spending has been high on the OECD agenda for a few years now. But is there such a thing as "good debt" or "bad cuts"? This just published 2012 update of Restoring Public Finance will help you make up your mind. It casts a light on OECD budgets and plans, helping markets to assess reform paths more confidently.

Hearing the poor

The development community has long talked about empowering people by having their voices heard on how to reduce poverty. Now the OECD has acted on this by creating a platform, "Stories of Empowerment". to gather concrete testimonies of people who benefitted from development programmes in a wide range of countries.

Broadband economicsBusiness climateBetter boards; Health spending downKorea worksCOP on about climateRenewable energy inventionsBad debt, good cuts?Hearing the poor

The Friday fish #5 ©OECD Observer, 23 November 2012 




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