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Determinants of Households’ Investment in Energy Efficiency and Renewables: Evidence from the OECD Survey on Household Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Determinants of Households’ Investment in Energy Efficiency and Renewables: Evidence from the OECD Survey on Household Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes
Source: OECD

Many studies on household energy efficiency investments suggest that a wide range of seemingly profitable investments are not taken up. This paper provides novel evidence on the main factors behind consumer choices using the OECD Survey on Household Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes. The empirical analysis is based on the estimation of binary logit regression models. Empirical results suggest that households’ propensity to invest in clean energy technologies depends mainly on home ownership, income, social context and households’ information. Indeed, home owners and high-income households are more likely to invest than renters and low-income households. On the other hand, social context, such as membership in an environmental non-governmental organisation, and households’ knowledge about their energy spending and use may play a relevant role in technology adoption.

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How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820

October 28, 2014 Comments off

How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820
Source: OECD

How was life in 1820, and how has it improved since then? What are the long-term trends in global well-being? Views on social progress since the Industrial Revolution are largely based on historical national accounting in the tradition of Kuznets and Maddison. But trends in real GDP per capita may not fully re­flect changes in other dimensions of well-being such as life expectancy, education, personal security or gender inequality. Looking at these indicators usually reveals a more equal world than the picture given by incomes alone, but has this always been the case? The new report How Was Life? aims to fill this gap. It presents the first systematic evidence on long-term trends in global well-being since 1820 for 25 major countries and 8 regions in the world covering more than 80% of the world’s population. It not only shows the data but also discusses the underlying sources and their limitations, pays attention to country averages and inequality, and pinpoints avenues for further research.

The How Was Life? report is the product of collaboration between the OECD, the OECD Development Centre and the CLIO-INFRA project. It represents the culmination of work by a group of economic historians to systematically chart long-term changes in the dimensions of global well-being and inequality, making use of the most recent research carried out within the discipline. The historical evidence reviewed in the report is organised around 10 different dimensions of well-being that mirror those used by the OECD in its well-being report How’s Life? (www.oecd.org/howslife), and draw on the best sources and expertise currently available for historical perspectives in this field. These dimensions are:per capita GDP, real wages, educational attainment, life expectancy, height, personal security, political institutions, environmental quality, income inequality and gender inequality.

Reinvigorating the EU Single Market

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Reinvigorating the EU Single Market
Source: OECD

The EU Single Market remains fragmented by complex and heterogeneous rules at the EU and national levels affecting trade, capital, including foreign direct investment, and labour mobility. Further development of the Single Market and removing barriers to external trade would bring substantial growth and employment gains by enhancing resource allocation in Europe, by generating economies of scale and by strengthening competition and hence incentives to innovate. Reforming regulation and other implicit barriers can also yield a double dividend: it would stimulate cross-border activities and support the necessary reallocation process within countries. Such reallocation can cause hardships, especially for the less-skilled workers who may not be able to compete. To deal with such problems, it is important to enhance active labour market policies and training. The Single Market would also benefit from better networks between countries that can be supported by a well-targeted infrastructure policy. New digital networks can be promoted by an appropriate regulatory framework to strengthen confidence and to promote fair competition. Regarding external trade, the first-best solution is clearly multilateral trade negotiations, but short of that external trade and investment barriers can be reduced with Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the United States and other partners. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of the European Union (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-european-union.htm).

Employment: report shows worker mobility key to tackle EU demographic and skills challenges

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Employment: report shows worker mobility key to tackle EU demographic and skills challenges
Source: European Commission/OECD

To address the effects of population ageing, the EU will need to close the gender gap and increase the participation of young and older workers in the labour market, but mobility and migration also have a key role to play. This is the main finding of the joint Commission-OECD report on Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs published today.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented “This joint report with the OECD offers valuable guidance on the serious demographic challenges ahead. Ensuring fair labour mobility within the EU, improving training to close skills gaps, ensuring decent working conditions to workers and better integration of non-EU workers can be part of the solution to population ageing and future skill shortages in the European labour market”.

How Was Life? shows long-term progress in key areas of well-being

October 7, 2014 Comments off

How Was Life? shows long-term progress in key areas of well-being
Source: OECD

People’s well-being has generally progressed since the early 20th century across a large part of the world, according to new research published by a consortium of economic historians (CLIO-INFRA) and produced in collaboration with the OECD and OECD Development Centre.

How Was Life? Global Well-Being since 1820 shows that, with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, countries have generally become more equal to each other in terms of well-being than in terms of per capita GDP – particularly in recent decades.

The study presents for the first time systematic evidence of trends in areas such as health, education, inequality, the environment and personal security over the past 200 years.

By bringing together long-term, historical data, the study makes an important contribution to key questions on the extent to which well-being has been linked to economic circumstances.

The historical data covers real wages, per capita GDP, educational attainment, life expectancy, height (used as a proxy for physical health and nutrition), personal security, political institutions, environmental quality, and income and gender inequality. The topics mirror those of the OECD’s regular How’s Life? report on measuring well-being.

Jobs recovery to remain weak in 2015, says OECD

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Jobs recovery to remain weak in 2015, says OECD
Source: OECD

Unemployment will remain well above its pre-crisis levels next year in most OECD countries, despite modest declines over the rest of 2014 and in 2015, according to a new OECD report.

The Employment Outlook 2014 says that average jobless rates will decrease slightly over the next 18 months in the OECD area, from 7.4% in mid-2014 to 7.1% at the end of 2015. Almost 45 million people are out of work in OECD countries, 12.1 million more than just before the crisis. Globally, an estimated 202 million people are unemployed, with many more in low-paid and precarious jobs.

The Outlook also analyses the impact of the crisis on wages. It finds that real wage growth has come to a virtual standstill since 2009 and wages actually fell in a number of countries by between 2% and 5% a year on average, including in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

This slowdown has been fairly evenly spread across the earnings distribution. However, slower real wage growth, and cuts in wages in some cases, result in real hardship for low-paid workers, the report warns.

An Exploration of the Determinants of the Subjective Well-being of Americans During the Great Recession

September 3, 2014 Comments off

An Exploration of the Determinants of the Subjective Well-being of Americans During the Great Recession
Source: OECD

This paper uses data from the American Life Panel to understand the determinants of well-being in the United States during the Great Recession. It investigates how various dimensions of subjective wellbeing reflected in the OECD Better Life Framework impact subjective well-being. The results show that income is an important determinant of subjective well-being. The unemployed and the disabled are significantly less satisfied with their lives than the working population, while the retired and the homemakers are more satisfied. The paper expands the existing evidence by showing that homeowners, registered voters and those with access to health insurance have higher levels of subjective well-being. Time spent walking or exercising is positively correlated with happiness, while working more than 50 hours per week or spending time on health-related activities is negatively correlated with subjective well-being, and higher levels of anxiety. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of United States (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-united-states.htm)

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