The Nuclear Energy Agency is an intergovernmental agency that is organized under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development . Originally formed on 1 February 1958 with the name European Nuclear Energy Agency ; the United States participated as an Associate Member), the name was changed on 20 April 1972 to its current name after Japan became a member.The mission of the NEA is to "assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." Wikipedia.
News Article | May 18, 2017
Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G7 coalition of major economies agreed to increase their efforts at tackling inequality and ensuring that trade better supports their economies, just two weeks before leaders are due to gather in the Sicilian town of Taormina. Meeting in Bari, Italy, from 12-13 May, the officials discussed a series of issues, ranging from the state of the global economy and the effects of technological evolution on inequality, to how to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As G7 host, Italy has set this year’s theme as “Building the Foundations of Renewed Trust,” built around the pillars of citizen safety; sustainability across the economic, environmental, and social spheres as well as tackling inequality; and the interface between innovation and labour in the present day. “[The] global recovery is gaining momentum, yet growth remains moderate and GDP is still below potential in many countries, with the balance of risks tilted to the downside. At the same time, longer-term potential growth rates also remain subdued,” said the final communiqué. The document also includes pledges for these industrialised nations to use “all policy tools” at their disposal in order to foster stronger growth that is also “sustainable, balanced, and inclusive,” and focuses on a series of issue areas of shared interest, such as the global economy, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the work of multilateral development bank, tackling terrorist financing sources, and addressing illicit finance, among others. The G7 is made up of Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union is also involved as a “non-enumerated” member, meaning one that is not counted in the formal tally of seven. The EU is represented by the presidents of the European Commission and European Council. On trade, the finance officials said that G7 members “are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies,” in language that mirrored that used in a G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ communiqué earlier this year. “We will strive to reduce excessive global imbalances and in a way that supports global growth,” the document said. Experts predict that how to address the subject of protectionism, which was not referred to in either the G7 or G20 finance officials’ document, will likely play a major role in the G7 leaders’ summit later this month as well as the G20 leaders’ meeting in July. The issue has particularly come to the forefront in light of the change in leadership in the United States. (See Bridges Weekly, 23 March 2017) The document also affirms past pledges not to “target exchange rates for competitive purposes,” along with other language on communicating policy changes and continuing their commitment to “market determined exchange rates.” Within the communiqué, finance officials also note their interest in developing an “inclusive growth agenda,” with the topic of addressing inequalities and fostering greater inclusiveness permeating the entire document. “Technological change and global integration have made an important contribution to raising living standards across the world over recent decades. We will work to enable our economies and communities to adjust to the pace of change today, so that the global economy works for everyone,” officials said. The document also notes a recent report from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the subject which was prepared for the meeting. “Over the years, we collectively focused on how to grow faster, how to grow the proverbial ‘size of the pie’ – and, after the crisis, on how to grow again,” said OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría on 12 May, who was on hand to present the report on “A Fiscal Approach for Inclusive Growth in G7 countries.” “In so doing, we somehow neglected to reflect about the nature of the growth, the sharing of the pie, and social outcomes. We know, now, that besides the ethical and political implications, those aspects are tightly interwoven with the level of economic performances,” he added. The OECD report highlighted three main points: the negative implications of inequality for economic growth; the benefits of more inclusive policies in lowering the burden on public finances; and the need for all areas of government to work together to pursue a more inclusive economic growth model. The group also released a “Bari Policy Agenda on growth and inequalities,” which suggests a series of “pro-inclusive” options for G7 members to consider in the areas of fiscal policy and structural reform. In the area of fiscal policy, for example, the policy agenda puts forward a series of tax reforms that they say could promote both growth and equity, along with urging that fiscal policy do a better job in supporting those individuals and areas who could benefit the most, such as through education and health care. Regarding structural reforms, these could be put together in “comprehensive and balanced ‘packages’” which could help support “an enabling environment for broad-based growth, while facilitating adjustment to the dislocations created by technological advances and international trade.” The policy agenda also warns that the current gender gap has damaging implications for economic growth, and includes a pledge among the G7 to “promote gender equality and increase the integration of women in economic activities,” along with tabling some suggested policy measures that could support progress towards this goal. ICTSD reporting; “G7 signs off on watered-down free trade pledge,” FINANCIAL TIMES, 13 May 2017; “G7 finance chiefs warn US not to upset global growth,” REUTERS, 12 May 2017; “G7 finance chiefs pin hopes on Sicily meeting after trade deadlock,” FINANCIAL TIMES, 14 May 2017.
News Article | May 27, 2017
One in five people are financially illiterate, incapable of grasping basic shopping conundrums – such as, is that nine-pack of loo roll better value than two four-packs? In a world of ever more complex financial products, it’s never been a better time for companies to rip people off because, frankly, very large numbers of us are rather dim with numbers. A fascinating study on financial literacy was issued by the OECD this week, comparing financial literacy around the world, using the same Pisa scoring system that ranks abilities in reading and maths. It was focused on 15-year-olds in 15 countries, so it’s not about adults, but my guess is that most people’s literacy at 50 isn’t much better than at 15. It asked some maths-style questions – comparing the cost of loose tomatoes with boxed ones, and checking an invoice for accuracy – but also explored more modern issues around money, such as identifying if that email from your bank is a scam, and the factors that go into insurance costs for a first moped. What did we learn? Only 12% of 15-year-olds got the questions right. On average 22% had only the most basic financial literacy (in other words, the tomato question foxed most of them). In many countries (except Italy) girls are better than boys with money. Young people who had gained most of their knowledge about money from friends scored much lower than those who frequently discussed it with their parents (hey teenagers, listen to your parents!). I was fascinated to learn that if you give a 15-year-old a bank debit card, in many countries (such as the Netherlands and Spain) they were likely to score worse on financial literacy than those teenagers who did not have them. The US may be the most financialised economy in the world, yet 15-year-olds in Russia had better financial literacy than Americans. But while the US scored very badly in maths when the Pisa system was used (it ranked only just above Kazakhstan), its teenagers were relatively much better on financial literacy (overtaking Italy, Spain and Poland). The UK did not participate in this Pisa test. Teenagers who live in cities scored more highly than those in rural areas (why?). Immigrants had much lower financial literacy than the native born (and it’s something our consumer champions have noted: immigrants with poor English are at times ruthlessly exploited by companies that know they are less likely to understand – or to complain). Despite the fact that the Chinese students had less money than their European or American counterparts, and were less likely to have bank accounts and debit cards, they came top. No doubt this is related to China’s top scores in Pisa maths tests. The crucial findings from this survey were less about best and worst countries (is it any great surprise that poor nations in general have lower scores than rich ones?) but about the differences between the top and bottom within each country. Fewer than one in 10 15-year-olds in Belgium, Canada, China and Russia struggled with money questions. But in the US it was 21.6%, in Australia 19.7%, and in Spain 24.7%. My guess is that if British students were tested, they would more likely be in the US/Australia camp than the Chinese one. What do we do about the fact that around one in five of our fellow citizens are in this situation? Do we, as I see so often in “below the line” comments, accept that when people are parted with their life savings, it’s a tax on stupidity? No, we don’t. Modern finance enables rip-offs to happen at light speed, with the bottom 20% specifically targeted (I’m thinking payday lenders here). This OECD report is a wake-up call not just to parents to talk to their kids about money, or for schools to do more financial education, but for regulators to insist on protections. But what’s President Trump doing? Rolling back the very financial protections brought in by Obama after the sub-prime crisis.
News Article | June 14, 2017
Since the May budget one area of dispute has been the raising of the Medicare levy to 2.5% to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. While the ALP is arguing the new rate should only apply to those earning over $87,000, the progressive thinktank the Austrhighalia Institute has released a paper arguing it is time for the levy to become fully progressive. Progressive taxation has a history of being mangled by treasurers. Joe Hockey did it when talking about the petrol excise and now Scott Morrison has joined the party. When justifying the raising of the Medicare levy Scott Morrison argued that “If you’re on a higher income, you’ll pay more under our plan. If you’re on lower income, you’ll pay less”. He is right of course only if you talk in terms of nominal figures. Of course someone on $180,000 will pay more in nominal terms than someone on $50,000 – As the author of the Australian Institute’s report, “Time for a Progressive Medicare Levy”, David Richardson, notes: “Two per cent of a big number is always going to be bigger than 2% of a smaller number.” Nominal figures tell us nothing about whether or not a tax is progressive. Australia’s income tax – as with most others in the world – is a progressive system, which means people pay a higher average rate of tax the more they earn. This occurs by increasing marginal tax rates – which apply only to the income earned above each threshold (thus for example someone on $200,000 only pays the top tax rate of 45% on the money they earned over $180,000): But the Medicare levy is not progressive. It is a flat tax – 2% no matter how much you earn (with a few exceptions based on family size and income) and it applies to all income. Thus someone on $200,000 pays the 2% Medicare levy on all $200,000, and someone on $70,000 similarly pays 2% on their entire income. As the Australia Institute report notes, moving from a system where the Medicare levy is a flat 2% but with the highest marginal tax rate of 47% (due to the deficit levy) to one where the Medicare levy is 2.5% and the top tax rate is 45%, makes the income tax system less progressive: The sweet spot is $240,000. At that point the 0.05% increase in the Medicare levy is cancelled out by the 2% cut in the top marginal tax rate. Everyone earning above that rate is better off. The ALP has responded to the government’s 2.5% Medicare levy proposal by arguing for the increase to only apply to those earning over $87,000 and also keeping the 2% deficit levy. While that would counter some of the lost progressivity, the Australia Institute has argued that it is time to resurrect an idea from the Henry tax review and make the Medicare levy itself progressive. The Henry tax review noted a couple problems with the Medicare levy. One of these was that it incorrectly leads people to think the levy somehow covers our health expenditure, which it doesn’t. David Richardson notes that while the suggestion of a Medicare levy is needed to pay for the NDIS is a nice enough proposition, “when there is a deficit, one could nominate anything and say it ‘needs funding’”. The Henry tax review also noted that while the Medicare levy appears simple, because of exemptions and because it treats singles differently from couples in ways normal income tax does not, it actually complicates the entire system. The Henry Tax review recommended either absorbing the levy in the income tax system – ie removing the exemptions and differing treatments for singles and families – or to make the more progressive by applying it as a proportion of the income tax payable. This is the path chosen by the Australia Institute. The institute estimates that a 8.5% rate on top of people’s average tax rate would make the changes revenue neutral, however for simplicity, it recommends a rate of 10%. How it would work is if you paid an average rate of 20% income tax you would pay an extra 2% in Medicare levy. If you paid an average of 30% in income tax (the rate paid by someone earring around $176,000) you would pay a 3% Medicare levy. The Australia Institute calculates this would mean those earning less than $67,624 would be better off – a figure they estimate would include 61% of taxpayers: Such a policy would of course bring forward charges that the top income earners are being forced to pay too much tax – and that our top tax rate would be uncompetitive with other nations. These accusations have already occurred because the ALP proposes keeping the deficit levy. The prime minister recently suggested such a policy with a 49.5% top tax rate “would send a very poor signal to all Australian workers: don’t bother trying to earn just over two times average full-time weekly earnings”. And yet Australia is actually a low taxing nation for high-income earners. The top tax rate alone is a dumb way to compare income tax systems – you need to take into account when it kicks in. And despite what you might have heard, on both measures, Australia is nowhere near the top: But the OECD sensibly also looks at the average tax rate, and here Australia does seem to have a high rate. A person on average earnings paid 24.3% average tax in 2016 – well above the OECD average. But the problem is we don’t have social security contributions taken out in the manner done in other OECD nations. And that skews the average rate down for those nations. The OECD also looks at “net personal average tax”, which takes into account not only tax paid, but also employee social security contributions and cash benefits they receive. This measure was also used by a tax review done during the Howard government and cowritten by Peter Hendy who until recently was Malcolm Turnbull’s economic adviser. That review noted that the net personal average tax rate was “important” because it is “a measure of the employee’s incentive to increase the number of hours they work or to seek promotion”. Using this measure Australia’s tax paid by Australians is well below the OECD average: But the measure I like the most is the “tax wedge”. This measures the difference between what it costs your employer to employ you and what you actually receive. It means we can better compare different tax systems such as those in Europe which include employee and employs social security contributions. The OECD also calculates the tax wedge across different income levels. For those on average full-time earnings (which in 2016 was around $82,000) Australia has a lower average tax wedge than the UK and the US. For those on 220% of average earnings (which in 2016 was equal to $180,000 – the top tax threshold), Australia had the 9th lowest tax wedge in the OECD: Clearly we need to work harder to send a signal to workers not to “bother trying to earn just over two times average full-time weekly earnings”. Australia’s progressive tax system does not overly penalise high-income earners, but moves to make the tax system flatter by putting more emphasis on measures such as the Medicare levy will shift the burden on to lower-income earners.
News Article | June 14, 2017
About 500,000 students will be offered the opportunity to take part in the Can$50 million (US$38 million) program over the next two years, according to the science ministry. "Many jobs today rely on the ability of Canadian workers to solve problems using digital skills," said a statement. "The demand for such skills will only intensify as the number of software and data companies increases—whether they sell music online or design self-driving cars, for example," it said. Five hundred teachers across the country will be provided with the training and tools to teach digital skills and coding. The government also wants the program to encourage more young women and indigenous children to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Explore further: Tapping into the unique skills of students with autism
News Article | May 31, 2017
Donald Trump won the US presidency railing against “job-killing regulation” and promising to put coal miners back to work. Delivering against this promise is proving difficult: US high-cost coal is crowded out not just by increasingly low-cost renewables, but also by shale gas and lower-cost coal from other countries. And as a way to bring down the costs, automation takes away even more jobs in mining. But in US coal counties, Trump’s unrealistic promise beat Hillary Clinton’s $30 billion plan for transition of coal communities. Because the magnetism of mirage jobs is so strong, as is the fear of failed politicians’ promises, having a good transition plan may not be enough. Those affected require real world examples of how peer communities are going through the same challenges, both in the US and abroad. That is the problem taken on in a report launched by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) today. It urges the G20 to make sure the transition to a low carbon economy is a “just transition“, creating decent, green jobs and smooths the impact on vulnerable workers and communities. If we are serious about holding global warming well below 2C as the Paris Agreement states, all sectors, industries and jobs will have to change. At all levels, a just transition is essential to ensure that people see a future for themselves in climate action, and that no one is left behind. The policies needed to help workers in moving into new jobs vary depending on national and local circumstances. But there is one profound reason for the G20 to embrace a just transition at an international level too: countries need broader social support for climate action, and knowing how others are managing to bring working people and communities on board through just transition approaches can change the game. In contrast to the US, the world’s largest coal producer, China, has seen the writing on the wall. In 2016, its third consecutive year of declining coal production and use, China set up a 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) fund to facilitate the reallocation of jobs in the coal and steel sectors. Germany, the convener of the G20 this year, is closing the last remaining hard coal mines by 2018, following decades of managed decline efforts. The sunsetting of an industry is never easy, especially for fossil energy production that is highly concentrated and often provides the basis of employment and revenue for entire towns and cities. But there is a critical mass of experience – from Spain’s Asturias to UK’s South Wales – that can help implement future transitions in a smoother and more predictable way. This existing knowledge can give the G20 a head start on the just transition agenda. In 2015, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN body, published “Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all”. These multi-sector guidelines rely on the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda – social dialogue, social protection, rights at work and employment – and go into quite specific recommendations including on sectoral and industrial policy, skills and support for job seekers. The OECD report also cites dedicated funds to cover the costs of early retirement and retraining of workers as well as other complementary policies. Several jurisdictions have successfully implemented the “polluter pays” principle to raise revenue for such funds. In Kentucky, which is now at the centre of Trump’s effort to rekindle coal mining, such a mechanism was introduced back in 1972 in the form of a coal severance tax. This tax on coal production (later extended to coal processing) is used to support the diversification away from coal. Similarly, in Canada’s Alberta, the government has committed to fund a transition for coal miners through the carbon tax. The G20 is only one of the global governance forums that needs addressing the just transition agenda. Others include UN’s ILO, Sustainable Development Goals and climate negotiations as well as OECD, OPEC and regional intergovernmental forums. But it is precisely a G20 topline commitment that can lift just transition to the level than will help enhance the ambition for climate action. Ivetta Gerasimchuk is sustainable energy supplies lead at the International Institute for Sustainable Development Anabella Rosemberg is environment and occupational health and safety officer at the International Trade Union Confederation
Philp J.,Oecd Nuclear Energy Agency
Energy and Environmental Science | Year: 2015
Key objectives for a bioeconomy are now embedded in the strategic activities of more than 30 countries, with an increasing number developing a national bioeconomy strategy. In a bioeconomy, fossil-based commodities and electricity start to be replaced by bio-based. This is meant to address some of the so-called 'grand challenges' being faced by society, but especially energy security (by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels) and climate change (by reducing greenhouse gas emissions). However, in the vast majority of countries that have bioenergy and biofuels policies, there is either no policy support for bio-based materials (especially chemicals and plastics) or it is limited to R&D subsidy. And yet, studies repeatedly show that higher added value and job creation are to be found in materials production. This paper suggests a cost-effective public policy strategy to redress this balance. The strategy also addresses a weakness of bio-based production-low efficiency-by creating stimulus for companies to innovate their biocatalysts and bioprocesses. © 2015 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
de Mello L.,Oecd Nuclear Energy Agency
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy | Year: 2011
With this paper I test the hypothesis that, by giving people more voice in the government decision-making process, fiscal decentralisation fosters social capital, measured in terms of interpersonal trust. Empirical evidence based on World Values Survey data and seemingly unrelated probit estimations for a cross-section of countries suggests that people living in federal and decentralized countries find it more important to have a voice in government decisions than their zcounterparts living in unitary and centralised countries. Provoice attitudes are, in turn, associated with greater social capital. The cross-country estimations are complemented by country-specific regressions for Brazil and Indonesia on account of these countries' experiences with fiscal decentralisation. The results show that the cohorts of individuals that have been exposed to decentralisation are in general more provoice (and trustful of strangers in the case of Brazil) than their counterparts that have not been exposed to decentralisation. These findings are not driven by the effects of political liberalisation on people's attitudes towards the importance of having a voice in government decisions and interpersonal trust.
Devaux M.,Oecd Nuclear Energy Agency
The European journal of health economics : HEPAC : health economics in prevention and care | Year: 2015
A key policy objective in OECD countries is to achieve adequate access to health care for all people on the basis of need. Previous studies have shown that there are inequities in health care services utilisation (HCSU) in the OECD area. In recent years, measures have been taken to enhance health care access. This paper re-examines income-related inequities in doctor visits among 18 selected OECD countries, updating previous results for 12 countries with 2006-2009 data, and including six new countries. Inequalities in preventive care services are also considered for the first time. The indirect standardisation procedure is used to estimate the need-adjusted HCSU and concentration indexes are derived to gauge inequalities and inequities. Overall, inequities in HCSU remain present in OECD countries. In most countries, for the same health care needs, people with higher incomes are more likely to consult a doctor than those with lower incomes. Pro-rich inequalities in dental visits and cancer screening uptake are also found in nearly all countries, although the magnitude of these varies among countries. These findings suggest that further monitoring of inequalities is essential in order to assess whether country policy objectives are achieved on a regular basis.
Paunov C.,Oecd Nuclear Energy Agency
Research Policy | Year: 2012
The longer term impact of the global crisis depends on how business innovation capacities were affected. Understanding which firms suffered most is essential for developing adequate post-crisis recovery policies. This paper provides first quantitative evidence on these questions based on an original firm-level dataset for eight Latin American countries in 2008-2009. We find the crisis led many firms to stop ongoing innovation projects. Probit regression results show that firms with access to public funding were less likely to abandon these investments. Younger firms and businesses supplying foreign multinationals or suffering export shocks were more likely to do so. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
News Article | March 2, 2017
A crash in Australia’s “unprecedented” housing market could lead to a broader economic downturn, according to a report from the OECD. In its first major review of the Australian economy since 2014, the OECD warned the housing market was showing “hints of a slowdown”, in what it identified as an “extreme vulnerability” for the economy. “A large drop-off in house prices could cut household consumption and increase mortgage defaults … The market may not ease gently but develop into a rout on prices and demand with significant macroeconomic implications,” they said. “A continued rise of the market, fuelled by both investor and owner-occupier demand, may end in a significant downward correction that spreads to the rest of the economy.” Australia’s house prices have increased by 250% in real terms since the mid 1990s, with the median house price in Sydney hitting almost $1m at the end of January. The OECD attributed this boom to domestic buyers rather than foreign investment, and recommended government policy should pressure banks to limit mortgage lending for investment properties, and avoid risky loans – echoing 2014 measures already put in place by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Household debt also rose to record levels, with the debt to disposable income ratio rising to 186.9% at the end of September last year. However, the report noted household debt was “concentrated in high income households”, and was balanced by rising asset values and low interest rates. A global plunge in iron and coal prices was also identified as another major vulnerability, and the OECD noted the economy still faced “challenges” in the gender pay gap and in greenhouse gas emissions. It recommended an emissions trading scheme be adopted if carbon reduction targets “beyond those brought about by the Direct Action Plan” were needed. “The price of carbon emissions in Australia is low, with large shares of emissions in industry, electricity, agriculture and fisheries are not priced at all. This weakens the incentives to cut carbon in a cost-effective manner,” the report said.