OECD Country Reports
In addition to the OECD Economic Outlook and the OECD Growth Strategy (Going-for-Growth), the OECD Country Reports (Economic Surveys) are the key publications on economic and growth policies at OECD level.
For the purpose of preparing the individual country reports, the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC) carries out a review every 18-24 months for each OECD Member as well as accession candidates and non-Members which closely cooperate with the OECD. The country reports focus on long-term macro-economic developments, identify the main structural challenges of a country and suggest possible options for policy design. The focus of 2017 was on digitalisation (previous focuses: 2009 Education, 2011 Health, 2013 Well-Being, 2015 Gender Balance).
Austria is seen as a stable and wealthy economy, with growth having picked up following the 2016 tax reform and the recovery of export demand. As in most OECD countries, trend output growth has declined since the 1990s. Labour supply has expanded (driven by rising participation of women and elderly and an increase in immigration), but the hours worked per worker have declined. Productivity has slowed and Austria has lost market shares within regional value chains. Investment has recently accelerated, yet enterprise churn, start-up rates and the renewal of business models are weaker than in comparable countries. Reinvigorating business dynamism would improve competitiveness and labour demand, and spur both growth and social cohesion.
The business sector is adapting to the global digital revolution, albeit at a slower pace than in the most advanced countries, especially among smaller firms. The adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) applications by households is also uneven: while the young and highly educated align swiftly with global trends, older generations and those with a lower educational level and immigrants are lagging behind. Fostering broad-based diffusion of state of-the-art technologies and digital innovations would help renew business models, work practices and lifestyles throughout Austria, and foster productivity growth, welfare and social cohesion.
The digital transformation is redesigning production processes and altering the relationships between work and leisure, capital and labour, skilled and unskilled, wealthy and less-wealthy. To preserve social cohesion, a comprehensive policy approach is needed for ensuring equality of opportunity and appropriate redistribution of the gains stemming from digitalisation. Schools need to provide digital skills in addition to the traditional ones. Having left school, workers will need to catch up via life-long learning solutions. Co-ordination across the many stakeholders of the education system needs to improve so that learning tracks better fit changing labour market requirements.
Therefore, the OECD proposes a number of recommendations to meet these challenges.
National Economic Policy Issues and Analysis: Allgemeine-Wirtschaftspolitik@bmdw.gv.at