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Making Economic Growth more Socially Inclusive in Germany

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Making Economic Growth more Socially Inclusive in Germany
Source: OECD

While past labour market reforms have been successful in terms of employment, the relative poverty risk and income inequality have remained broadly unchanged in recent years. Some social groups remain particularly vulnerable, including individuals in non-regular employment, the unemployed and the low skilled. If in employment, their jobs tend to be unstable and wages and income mobility low. Continued efforts are needed to foster economic growth in a more inclusive manner, such that the most vulnerable groups benefit from and contribute to economic growth more strongly and such that the gaps between the rich and the poor in terms of income and wellbeing are reduced. These efforts should include enhancing the labour market outcomes of the most vulnerable and increase upward income mobility among disadvantaged individuals; strengthening skills at the lower end of the skills distribution; revising the tax and benefit system to improve incentives and to ensure efficient and well-targeted redistribution; and to make health and old-age pension insurance more inclusive. This working paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of Germany (http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-germany.htm).

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data

January 6, 2015 Comments off

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

We measure consumers’ use of cash by harmonizing payment diary surveys from seven countries. The seven diary surveys were conducted in 2009 (Canada), 2010 (Australia), 2011 (Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands), and 2012 (the United States). Our paper finds cross-country differences — for example, the level of cash use differs across countries. Cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. We also find that the use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-of-sale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.

Reforms to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Reforms to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services
Source: Center for American Progress

Long-term care is a growing challenge in many countries, but this issue brief focuses specifically on Germany and the United States.

About 12 million elderly or disabled Americans rely on long-term care to help them with tasks ranging from eating and bathing to housekeeping and cooking.

The need for long-term care can arise at any age—about 40 percent of people who need this care are under age 65—but the doubling of the elderly population over the coming decades means a substantial increase in the number of people who will need long-term care. The first of the Baby Boom generation reached the traditional retirement age of 65 three years ago, and each day for the next 18 years, about 8,000 more Americans will reach that milestone. As dramatic as these numbers may seem, the U.S. population is aging at a slower pace than other industrialized nations: By 2050, 1 in 5 American residents will be ages 65 and older, as opposed to fewer than 1 in 7 today. Germany, on the other hand, is a particularly fast-aging society: Today, 1 in 5 German residents are already ages 65 and older, and almost 1 in 3 will be those ages by 2050. At the same time, the German workforce is shrinking, and its overall population is projected to decline by 13 percent by 2050.

And thanks to public health improvements and medical breakthroughs, millions of seniors in industrialized nations—including in the United States and Germany—are, on average, living longer and are healthier and more active during their retirement years. But the increased longevity of the senior population also means that millions more people are likely to need long-term care, especially as more seniors age into their 80s and beyond, when the rates of dementia and other cognitive and physical conditions increase. In addition, these conditions require more comprehensive, costly care. For instance, the rate of dementia is less than 1 percent for people under 65 years old, but it rapidly increases to more than 40 percent for those over 85 years old. By 2050, the annual number of new cases of Alzheimer’s is projected to more than double.

Together, these demographic changes have placed enormous pressure on the United States’ inadequate mechanisms for financing long-term supports and services. Policymakers should consider comprehensive changes that will enhance how we pay for these services, balancing public and private insurance with family and friend caregiving. Germany—with its even greater demographic challenges—has taken precisely this approach and therefore provides an illustrative example for the United States.

International Survey Of Older Adults Finds Shortcomings In Access, Coordination, And Patient-Centered Care

November 20, 2014 Comments off

International Survey Of Older Adults Finds Shortcomings In Access, Coordination, And Patient-Centered Care
Source: Health Affairs

Industrialized nations face the common challenge of caring for aging populations, with rising rates of chronic disease and disability. Our 2014 computer-assisted telephone survey of the health and care experiences among 15,617 adults age sixty-five or older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States has found that US older adults were sicker than their counterparts abroad. Out-of-pocket expenses posed greater problems in the United States than elsewhere. Accessing primary care and avoiding the emergency department tended to be more difficult in the United States, Canada, and Sweden than in other surveyed countries. One-fifth or more of older adults reported receiving uncoordinated care in all countries except France. US respondents were among the most likely to have discussed health-promoting behaviors with a clinician, to have a chronic care plan tailored to their daily life, and to have engaged in end-of-life care planning. Finally, in half of the countries, one-fifth or more of chronically ill adults were caregivers themselves.

New Comparative Law Report — Approval of Medical Devices

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Approval of Medical Devices (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report describes the approval process for medical devices in the European Union and fifteen countries, and also indicates whether or not an expedited approval procedure is available. Many of the countries reference EU law, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Israel more readily approves devices with a CE mark (indicating approval in the EU) or an indication that they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In many nations, particularly those influenced by the EU, part of the review process is conducted not by the government but by private, independent organizations called “notified bodies.” These organizations are designated by EU Member States.

In most of the countries in the survey, medical devices are categorized based on the risks associated with their use, and the approval process varies by category. For example, in the United Kingdom, manufacturers of low-risk devices may register with the government agency and simply declare that the devices meet the requirements to be approved. Devices classed as higher risk must undergo more detailed review, by a notified body.

On the question of an expedited approval process, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland permit some sort of rapid review in particular cases, often when a device is required for an individual patient and no substitute is available. Mexico has provided for more rapid approval of devices if they have already been approved in either Canada or the United States. No such procedure exists at present in Brazil, France, Israel, the Russian Federation, or the United Kingdom. The Russian Federation did have a rapid approval system in place prior to August 2014. Germany provides for temporary approval of devices in limited circumstances. South Africa is now considering draft legislation that would include expedited procedures in specified situations.

2014 Global Automotive Consumer Study: Exploring European consumer mobility choices

November 14, 2014 Comments off

2014 Global Automotive Consumer Study: Exploring European consumer mobility choices
Source: Deloitte

This report highlights the key findings for the eight European countries covered in the 2014 Global Automotive Consumer Study by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s Global Manufacturing Industry group. The report provides perspectives on consumer mobility trends with a focus on the Gen Y market segment. Countries include Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, and United Kingdom.

Generation Y (“Gen Y”) consumers in Europe are interested in owning or leasing vehicles with around 75 percent planning to buy or lease a vehicle within the next five years. The study draws automakers’ attention to the changing mobility needs and buying behavior of Gen Y consumers, a group estimated to reach 106 million people in Europe by 2020.

What Would Happen If Health Care in the U.S. Improved?

October 23, 2014 Comments off

What Would Happen If Health Care in the U.S. Improved?
Source: Commonwealth Fund

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but the Commonwealth Fund report Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally shows the U.S. underperforms relative to 11 other industrialized countries on most dimensions of performance. Use this interactive to see what would happen if the U.S. were to raise its health system performance to the levels achieved elsewhere in the world.

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