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Reports


  • 29-March-2021

    English

    Measuring the alignment of real economy investments with climate mitigation objectives - The United Kingdom’s buildings sector

    This paper explores data and methods to assess the alignment or misalignment with climate mitigation objectives of investments in the construction and refurbishment of residential and non-residential buildings. It takes the United Kingdom (UK) as a case study, where such investments reached GBP 162 billion (EUR 184 billion) in 2019 or 39% of UK gross fixed capital formation. The analysis trials different reference points that lead to varying results and each currently come with limitations in terms of coverage or granularity. Sector-level greenhouse gas (GHG) trajectories indicate that, in aggregate, investments in UK buildings have been insufficient, delayed or not aligned enough with caps set by UK Carbon Budgets, but such trajectories currently lack disaggregation for a more granular and insightful matching with investment data. Energy performance certificates (EPCs) allow for asset-level analyses: for instance, 79% of 2010-2019 investments in new built residential were in relatively energy efficient buildings but only 1% were consistent with more demanding recommendations towards the UK’s objective of reaching net-zero GHG in 2050. The coverage and reliability of EPCs, however, needs to be improved for older buildings, whose deep retrofitting is a major financing challenge. Applying Climate Bonds Initiative criteria for low-carbon buildings identifies investments eligible for green bond financing, but such criteria have partial sectoral coverage and are based on currently most efficient buildings within the existing stock, which makes them relatively easy to meet for investments in new built. Producing more complete and policy relevant assessments of aligned and misaligned investments at national and sectoral levels requires the availability of and access to comparable and granular data on decarbonisation targets and pathways consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals, GHG performance of assets, corporate and household investments, as well as underlying sources of financing.
  • 9-March-2021

    English

    Future-Proofing Adult Learning in London, United Kingdom

    Cities are not only home to around half of the global population but are also at the forefront of the transformation of jobs, skills and labour markets. Furthermore, cities play a leading role in the COVID-19 response, as the pandemic is not only accelerating megatrends such as digitalisation and automation that change the world of work, but is also challenging city economies. In London, COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented labour market shock, with several service sectors having been devastated. The crisis and its impact on employment and firms make skills development and adult learning more important than ever. London is the first major city within the OECD to introduce a comprehensive skills strategy. The report Future-Proofing Adult Learning in London, UK analyses London’s capacity to design effective adult learning programmes, which are critical for a strong and sustainable economic recovery and for preparing for the future of work. The report sheds light on major challenges facing London, especially in light of COVID-19, while also pointing to opportunities for London to design a future-ready adult learning system that responds to the impacts of the pandemic and aligns training to rapidly evolving labour market demands.
  • 2-February-2021

    English

    Local entrepreneurship ecosystems and emerging industries: Case study of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, United Kingdom

    This paper examines how local-level policies can strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation in the region of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in the United Kingdom. It investigates the quality of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem for generating innovative start-ups and scale-ups and the regional conditions for generating positive industry transitions by supporting the strategic sectors of life sciences, information technologies, agri-tech and advanced manufacturing. Key areas of focus are on skills development, entrepreneurship development and knowledge exchange for local economic development. A number of policy recommendations are offered based on the analysis together with international inspiring policy practice examples.
  • 22-December-2020

    English

    How reliable are social safety nets? - Value and accessibility in situations of acute economic need

    Social protection systems use a range of entitlement criteria. First-tier support typically requires contributions or past employment in many countries, while safety net benefits are granted on the basis of need. In a context of volatile and uncertain labour markets, careful and continuous monitoring of the effectiveness of income support is a key input into an evidence-based policy process. This paper proposes a novel empirical method for monitoring the accessibility and levels of safety net benefits. It focusses on minimum-income benefits (MIB) and other non-contributory transfers and relies on data on the amounts of cash support that individuals in need receive in practice. Results show that accessibility and benefit levels differ enormously across countries – for instance, in 2015/16, more than four out of five low-income workless one-person households received MIB in Australia, France and the United Kingdom, compared to only one in five in Greece, Italy and Korea, three countries that have since sought to strengthen aspects of safety-net provisions.
  • 18-December-2020

    English

    Raising the Basic Skills of Workers in England, United Kingdom

    This report provides examples and recommendations to help overcome obstacles to engage low-skilled workers and their employers in skills development. England has implemented impressive measures aimed at helping workers and employers to upskill. Nonetheless, there remains room for improvement. More can be done to identify workers with low basic skills, raise awareness of why improving those skills is important, increase the accessibility to relevant courses, ensure these courses are flexible enough to accommodate adult learners who are already employed, and finally make the provision relevant to career aspirations. This report urges England to establish and promote a vision for raising the skills of low-skilled workers, identify their needs more systematically, and provide targeted guidance and information to them and their employers. It highlights that accessible and flexible adult learning opportunities in the workplace, home, community and by other means such as online and distance learning can better meet the varied needs of low-skilled workers. It also makes the case for the use of contextualised learning approaches, which create connections between basic skills and vocational context, and a more effective use of basic skills in workplaces to maintain, develop and realise the benefits of prior skills investments.
  • 16-December-2020

    English

    Transport Connectivity for Remote Communities in Scotland

    This report looks at the transport challenges for remote areas in Scotland. It does so by examining innovative policies the government has developed to ensure communities on both the margins of the country and the economy are connected to the rest of the country. It takes a broad view of connectivity, examining the crucial role transport plays in the provision health and education services.
  • 3-December-2020

    English

    Services trade and labour market outcomes in the United Kingdom

    Services trade has become increasingly important, yet its impact on employment has been understudied at present. This paper uses fine-grained data on firm- and worker-level information to shed light on the impact of services trade on employment and wages in the United Kingdom. It finds that firms can benefit from services trade, through increased employment, production and productivity. On average, workers’ wages are also positively impacted by increased services trade. The findings suggest that services imports enhance female wages more than those of males, thereby contributing to narrow the gender wage gap. They also suggest that reduction of services trade barriers in foreign markets with which the United Kingdom trades coincides with higher wages for employees of trading firms in the United Kingdom.
  • 23-November-2020

    English

    Boosting productivity in the United Kingdom’s service sectors

    The United Kingdom has been among the most affected OECD economies by the COVID-19 crisis, reflecting the high share of services in output and its integration in the world economy. Productivity growth in the United Kingdom has consistently underperformed relative to expectations and was more disappointing than in most other OECD economies since at least the global financial crisis. Sluggish productivity growth in the service sectors was the main factor behind this weak performance. Raising productivity will help to sustain employment and wages but will require a broad range of policies. Keeping low barriers to trade and competition in the UK service sectors will create a supportive environment for strong productivity performance. Prioritising digital infrastructure in the allocation of the planned increase in public investment is expected to bring large productivity dividends. Reviewing the system of support to small firms in the light of the COVID-19 crisis will help to re-prioritise resources towards young innovative firms. Further increasing public spending on training to develop the digital skills of low-qualified workers, which have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, will be a double-dividend policy, boosting productivity and lowering inequality.
  • 23-November-2020

    English

    Firm investments in skills and capital in the UK services sector

    Investments in both human and physical capital are key drivers of economic growth and productivity gains. The United Kingdom has had a turbulent recent history, being strongly affected by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and more recently voting to leave the European Union, its largest trading partner. We use firm-level survey data for the UK services sector to show that firms were less likely to increase expenditure on worker training in the periods following each event. In the period following the EU Referendum, firms were 9% less likely to increase expenditure on worker training relative to the period before the referendum. The effects were most severe for larger firms and for those located in London and the South East. The impacts also varied across industries, with firms in real estate, professional, scientific and technical activities among those most negatively affected, while administrative activities and accommodation services were least negatively affected. We see similar changes in expenditure on all forms of physical capital available in the data: IT; vehicles, plants and machinery; and land and buildings. Following the EU Referendum, firms were also more likely to reduce training expenditure, although the magnitudes of the changes were smaller than those following the Financial Crisis of 2008.
  • 23-November-2020

    English

    What drives firm and sectoral productivity in the United Kingdom and in selected European countries?

    This paper examines the link between barriers to trade and investment and productivity performance, in the United Kingdom and selected European countries using both firm-level and sectoral data. Barriers to trade and investment appear to be a robust determinant of productivity in the long term. Control variables such as spending on R&D and human capital also play a role, though their effects depend on the way they are measured or on the sample. The results are robust across a range of productivity measures as well as to changes in the sectoral coverage and the set of controls.
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