Don’t trust just any statistics!

5 minute read More timely statistics and data allow us to respond swiftly to new developments. More granular data means that we can be more targeted in our policy advice and better account for disparities across gender, regions, industries, firm size or demographics. But statistics and data must be trustworthy and of good quality. In short, they must be fit for purpose.

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Climate Change

Tracking carbon prices

5 minute read To accelerate the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions, climate policy needs to become more ambitious. The shift to net zero can be stimulated through many policy instruments including regulations, e.g. banning the use of certain polluting assets or activities, tax incentives and subsidies – and carbon pricing.

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Paid parental leave: Big differences for mothers and fathers

6 minute read Data on availability and use of paid leave entitlements is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of paid parental leave policies. However, the design of paid leave policy varies markedly across countries.

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Digitalisation, National Accounts

Measuring the digital economy (Part 1): Why is it important?

4 minute read Digitalisation – the use of digital technologies and data – has radically altered our economies. Whether it’s the way people consume goods and services, the tools and inputs that producers use in production, or the ability for producers to interact with consumers, digitalisation is fundamental to the modern economy. But policy makers have expressed concerns that the digital transformation remains largely hidden in the national accounts and macroeconomic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

To address these issues, the OECD’s Informal Advisory Group on Measuring GDP in a Digitalised Economy has produced the OECD Handbook on Compiling Digital Supply and Use Tables (SUTs). The new handbook proposes a measurement framework for compiling Digital SUTs to provide information on the output and value added of digital industries, amounts of digital goods and services purchased, and the extent to which digital ordering and delivery is taking place.

This is the first in a series of three blog articles, where we will introduce this measurement framework.

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Machine Learning, Trade

Nowcasting trade in value added indicators

8 minute read Integration in global value chains has been high on the policy agenda since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. But indicators of trade in value added are often published with a long delay, limiting their relevance for policymaking. This column seeks to nowcast those indicators for 41 economies and 24 sectors for 2021 and 2022, using a range of models. The share of domestic value added in exports is estimated to have fallen in 2021-22, while domestic services value-added shares of exports are expected to have been broadly stable and the share of domestic value added embodied in foreign demand is nowcasted to have recovered over the period.

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Artificial Intelligence, Digitalisation, New Data

Revealing urban transformations with AI and satellite imagery

4 minute read Recent years have brought with them an extraordinary shift in the urban landscape. As people seek new opportunities and a better quality of life, the population living in cities has more than doubled over the past 40 years, from 1.5 billion in 1975 to 3.5 billion in 2015. To accommodate population growth, cities tend to either expand or densify, which can have both economic and environmental impacts by increasing mobility demand, CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and cost of services.

Understanding how a city expands and comparing this with population trends is essential for sustainable urbanisation. Therefore, a timely monitoring of land management is crucial. In a recent OECD study, we leveraged an innovative approach based on publicly available satellite imagery and deep learning to monitor land use in OECD metropolitan areas in near-real time.

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Gender, Trade

Women are less engaged in trade: Why, and what to do about it

10 minute read International trade is a major driver of economic growth, with exporting firms earning greater profits, paying higher wages, and growing faster than non-exporting firms. But women entrepreneurs are less likely to engage in international trade, leaving them unable to capitalise on such benefits.
This column analyses the factors inhibiting women-led firms from trading internationally and suggests policies to overcome them. Ensuring that businesses led by women are able to take advantage of international trade will foster gender equality, help close gender wage gaps, and contribute to more inclusive economic growth.

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Digitalisation, Government, Tax

Tax administration: The ocean liner is changing course

4 minute read It’s easy to imagine tax administrations as big administrative beasts, slow to adapt to the challenges of an increasingly digital world, like cumbersome ocean liners requiring space and time to adjust their heading.

But the reality for a modern tax administration is very different. We saw this front and centre during the COVID-19 pandemic, with tax administrations delivering rapid and complex citizen support policies on an unprecedented scale. Less visible is the pace of digitalisation in tax administrations, which has only accelerated following the pandemic. We are seeing fundamental changes, integrating digital more and more into their core operating models and implementing world-leading practices. The results are lasting benefits for tax administrations and, ultimately, taxpayers.

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Inflation, SMEs, Ukraine

Turbulent times for SMEs 

4 minute read In recent years, the global economy has experienced a number of deep shocks, due to escalating geo-political tensions, global financial risks, tighter monetary and fiscal policy stances, financial-sector stress, labour shortages, trade barriers and slowing integration in global value chains. Drawing on the Timely Indicators of Entrepreneurship and the first chapter of the OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook, this article examines recent developments in business dynamism.

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Government, National Accounts, Tax

A fiscal squeeze may be coming

5 minute read This analysis by John Mitchell highlights shifting government spending patterns over the past 20 years, with rising health and social protection spending, accompanied by decreases for education, defence and public debt transactions. But recent increases in long-term interest rates combined with the higher overall level of government debt will require governments to devote more of their annual budgets to debt service payments in coming years.

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