The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members. Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. As of 2017, the OECD member states collectively comprised 62.2% of global nominal GDP (US$49.6 trillion) and 42.8% of global GDP (Int$54.2 trillion) at purchasing power parity. OECD is an official United Nations observer.
In 1948, the OECD originated as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), led by Robert Marjolin of France, to help administer the Marshall Plan (which was rejected by the Soviet Union and its satellite states). This would be achieved by allocating United States financial aid and implementing economic programs for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. (Similar reconstruction aid was sent to the war-torn Republic of China and post-war Korea, but not under the name "Marshall Plan".)
In 1961, the OEEC was reformed into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and membership was extended to non-European states. The OECD's headquarters are at the Château de la Muette in Paris, France. The OECD is funded by contributions from member states at varying rates and had a total budget of €374 million in 2017.
|Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|
Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques
Founding member countries (1961)
Other member countries
|Formation||16 April 1948 (as the OEEC)a|
Reformed in September 1961 (as OECD)
|José Ángel Gurría|
|€374 million (2017)|
|a. Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.|
The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was formed in 1948 to administer American and Canadian aid in the framework of the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. It started its operations on 16 April 1948, and originated from the work done by the Committee of European Economic Co-operation in 1947 in preparation for the Marshall Plan. Since 1949, it was headquartered in the Château de la Muette in Paris, France. After the Marshall Plan ended, the OEEC focused on economic issues. According to Yanis Varoufakis, the OEEC can be seen as a continental planning commission established by the victorious United States following the successful model of their planning commissions of the New Deal. The economic philosophy these commission followed can be characterized as Keynesian. The lead in the organisation should be in French hands, with a strong integration of the Germans.
In the 1950s, the OEEC provided the framework for negotiations aimed at determining conditions for setting up a European Free Trade Area, to bring the European Economic Community of the six and the other OEEC members together on a multilateral basis. In 1958, a European Nuclear Energy Agency was set up under the OEEC.
By the end of the 1950s, with the job of rebuilding Europe effectively done, some leading countries felt that the OEEC had outlived its purpose, but could be adapted to fulfill a more global mission. It would be a hard-fought task, and after several sometimes fractious meetings at the Hotel Majestic in Paris starting in January 1960, a resolution was reached to create a body that would deal not only with European and Atlantic economic issues, but devise policies to assist less developed countries. This reconstituted organisation would bring the US and Canada, who were already OEEC observers, on board as full members. It would also set to work straight away on bringing in Japan.
Following the 1957 Rome Treaties to launch the European Economic Community, the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was drawn up to reform the OEEC. The Convention was signed in December 1960 and the OECD officially superseded the OEEC in September 1961. It consisted of the European founder countries of the OEEC plus the United States and Canada, with Japan joining three years later. The official founding members are:
During the next 12 years Japan, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand also joined the organisation. Yugoslavia had observer status in the organisation starting with the establishment of the OECD until its dissolution as a country.
In 1989, after the Revolutions of 1989, the OECD started to assist countries in Central Europe (especially the Visegrád Group) to prepare market economy reforms. In 1990, the Centre for Co-operation with European Economies in Transition (now succeeded by the Centre for Cooperation with Non-Members) was established, and in 1991, the Programme "Partners in Transition" was launched for the benefit of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland. This programme also included a membership option for these countries. As a result of this, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, as well as Mexico and South Korea became members of the OECD between 1994 and 2000.
In the 1990s, a number of European countries, now members of the European Union, expressed their willingness to join the organisation. In 1995, Cyprus applied for membership, but, according to the Cypriot government, it was vetoed by Turkey. In 1996, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania signed a Joint Declaration expressing willingness to become full members of the OECD. Slovenia also applied for membership that same year. In 2005, Malta applied to join the organisation. The EU is lobbying for admission of all EU member states. Romania reaffirmed in 2012 its intention to become a member of the organisation through the letter addressed by the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta to OECD Secretary-General José Ángel Gurría. In September 2012, the government of Bulgaria confirmed it will apply for full membership before the OECD Secretariat.
In 2003, the OECD established a working group headed by Japan's Ambassador to the OECD Seiichiro Noboru to work out a strategy for the enlargement and co-operation with non-members. The working group proposed that the selection of candidate countries to be based on four criteria: "like-mindedness", "significant player", "mutual benefit" and "global considerations". The working group's recommendations were presented at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 13 and 14 May 2004. Based on these recommendations work, the meeting adopted an agreement on operationalisation of the proposed guidelines and on the drafting of a list of countries suitable as potential candidates for membership. As a result of this work, on 16 May 2007, the OECD Ministerial Council decided to open accession discussions with Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slovenia and to strengthen co-operation with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa through a process of enhanced engagement. Chile, Slovenia, Israel and Estonia all became members in 2010. In March 2014, the OECD halted membership talks with Russia in response to its role in the 2014 Crimean crisis.
In 2013, the OECD decided to open membership talks with Colombia and Latvia. In 2015, it opened talks with Costa Rica and Lithuania. Latvia became a full member on 1 July 2016 and Lithuania on 5 July 2018. Colombia signed the accession agreement on 30 May 2018 and will become full member after the ratification of the accession agreement and the deposition of the ratification document.
The OECD publishes and updates a model tax convention that serves as a template for bilateral negotiations regarding tax coordination and cooperation. This model is accompanied by a set of commentaries that reflect OECD-level interpretation of the content of the model convention provisions. In general, this model allocates the primary right to tax to the country from which capital investment originates (i.e., the home, or resident country) rather than the country in which the investment is made (the host, or source country). As a result, it is most effective as between two countries with reciprocal investment flows (such as among the OECD member countries), but can be very unbalanced when one of the signatory countries is economically weaker than the other (such as between OECD and non-OECD pairings).
The OECD publishes books, reports, statistics, working papers and reference materials. All titles and databases published since 1998 can be accessed via OECD iLibrary.
The OECD Library & Archives collection dates from 1947, including records from the Committee for European Economic Co-operation (CEEC) and the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), predecessors of today's OECD. External researchers can consult OECD publications and archival material on the OECD premises by appointment.
The OECD releases between 300 and 500 books each year. The publications are updated accordingly to the OECD iLibrary. Most books are published in English and French. The OECD flagship titles include:
All OECD books are available on the OECD iLibrary, the online bookshop or OECD Library & Archives.[n 1]
OECD Observer, an award-winning magazine[n 2] launched in 1962. The magazine appeared six times a year until 2010, and became quarterly in 2011 with the introduction of the OECD Yearbook,[n 3] launched for the 50th anniversary of the organisation. The online and mobile editions are updated regularly. News, analysis, reviews, commentaries and data on global economic, social and environmental challenges. Contains listing of the latest OECD books, plus ordering information. An OECD Observer Crossword was introduced in Q2 2013.
The OECD is known as a statistical agency, as it publishes comparable statistics on a wide number of subjects. In July 2014, the OECD publicly released its main statistical databases through the OECD Data Portal, an online platform that allows visitors to create custom charts based on official OECD indicators.
OECD statistics are available in several forms:
There are 15 working papers series published by the various directorates of the OECD Secretariat. They are available on iLibrary, as well as on many specialised portals.
The OECD is responsible for the OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, a continuously updated document that is a de facto standard (i.e., soft law).
It has published the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030, which shows that tackling the key environmental problems we face today—including climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, and the health impacts of pollution—is both achievable and affordable.
The OECD's structure consists of three main elements:
Delegates from the member countries attend committees' and other meetings. Former Deputy Secretary-General Pierre Vinde estimated in 1997 that the cost borne by the member countries, such as sending their officials to OECD meetings and maintaining permanent delegations, is equivalent to the cost of running the secretariat. This ratio is unique among inter-governmental organisations. In other words, the OECD is more a persistent forum or network of officials and experts than an administration.
The OECD regularly holds minister-level meetings and forums as platforms for a discussion on a broad spectrum of thematic issues relevant to the OECD charter, members and non-member states.
Noteworthy meetings include:
Exchanges between OECD governments benefit from the information, analysis, and preparation of the OECD Secretariat. The secretariat collects data, monitors trends, and analyses and forecasts economic developments. Under the direction and guidance of member governments, it also researches social changes or evolving patterns in trade, environment, education, agriculture, technology, taxation, and other areas.
The secretariat is organised in Directorates:
|No.||Secretary-General||Time served||Country of origin|
|1||Robert Marjolin||1948 – 1955||France|
|2||René Sergent||1955 – 1960||France|
|3||Thorkil Kristensen||1960 – September 1961||Denmark|
|No.||Secretary-General||Time served||Country of origin|
|1||Thorkil Kristensen||30 September 1961 – 30 September 1969||Denmark|
|2||Emiel van Lennep||1 October 1969 – September 1984||Netherlands|
|3||Jean-Claude Paye||1 October 1984 – 30 September 1994||France|
|—||Staffan Sohlman (interim)||1 October 1994 – November 1994||Sweden|
|3||Jean-Claude Paye||November 1994 – 30 May 1996||France|
|4||Donald Johnston||1 June 1996 – 30 May 2006||Canada|
|5||José Ángel Gurría||1 June 2006 – present||Mexico|
Representatives of member and observer countries meet in specialised committees on specific policy areas, such as economics, trade, science, employment, education or financial markets. There are about 200 committees, working groups and expert groups. Committees discuss policies and review progress in the given policy area.
|Australia||7 June 1971||Oceania|
|Austria||29 September 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Belgium||13 September 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Canada||10 April 1961||North America|
|Chile||November 2003||16 May 2007||15 December 2009||7 May 2010||South America|
|Czech Republic||January 1994||8 June 1994||24 November 1995||21 December 1995||Europe||Was a member of the rival Comecon from 1949 to 1991 as part of Czechoslovakia.|
|Denmark||30 May 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Estonia||16 May 2007||10 May 2010||9 December 2010||Europe|
|Finland||28 January 1969||Europe|
|France||7 August 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Germany||27 September 1961||Europe||Joined OEEC in 1949 (West Germany). Previously represented by the Trizone. East Germany was a member of the rival Comecon from 1950 until German reunification in 1990.|
|Greece||27 September 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Hungary||December 1993||8 June 1994||7 May 1996||Europe||Was a member of the rival Comecon from 1949 to 1991.|
|Iceland||5 June 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Ireland||17 August 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Israel||15 March 2004||16 May 2007||10 May 2010||7 September 2010||Asia|
|Italy||29 March 1962||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Japan||November 1962||July 1963||28 April 1964||Asia|
|South Korea||29 March 1995||25 October 1996||12 December 1996||Asia||Officially Republic of Korea|
|Latvia||29 May 2013||11 May 2016||1 July 2016||Europe|
|Lithuania||9 April 2015||31 May 2018||5 July 2018||Europe|
|Luxembourg||7 December 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Mexico||14 April 1994||18 May 1994||North America|
|Netherlands||13 November 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|New Zealand||29 May 1973||Oceania|
|Norway||4 July 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Poland||1 February 1994||8 June 1994||11 July 1996||22 November 1996||Europe||Was a member of the rival Comecon from 1949 to 1991.|
|Portugal||4 August 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Slovakia||February 1994||8 June 1994||July 2000||14 December 2000||Europe||Was a member of the rival Comecon from 1949 to 1991 as part of Czechoslovakia.|
|Slovenia||March 1996||16 May 2007||10 May 2010||21 July 2010||Europe|
|Spain||3 August 1961||Europe||Joined OEEC in 1958.|
|Sweden||28 September 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Switzerland||28 September 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|Turkey||2 August 1961||Europe & Asia||OEEC member.|
|United Kingdom||2 May 1961||Europe||OEEC member.|
|United States||12 April 1961||North America|
The following table shows various data for OECD member states, including area, population, economic output and income inequality, as well as various composite indices, including human development, viability of the state, rule of law, perception of corruption, economic freedom, state of peace, freedom of the press and democratic level.
 (Intl. $)
|Note: The colours indicate the country's global position in the respective indicator. For example, a green cell indicates that the country is ranked in the upper 25% of the list (including all countries with available data).|
|Highest quartile||Upper-mid (3rd quartile)||Lower-mid (2nd quartile)||Lowest quartile|
OECD iLibrary is OECD's Online Library for Books, Papers and Statistics and the gateway to OECD's analysis and data. It has replaced SourceOECD in July 2010.
Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to "shift" profits from higher–tax jurisdictions to lower–tax jurisdictions, thus "eroding" the "tax–base" of the higher–tax jurisdictions. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) define BEPS strategies as also: "exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules"; however, academics proved corporate tax havens (e.g. Ireland, the Caribbean, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, and Hong Kong), who are the largest global BEPS hubs, use OECD–whitelisted tax structures and OECD–compliant BEPS tools. Corporate tax havens offer BEPS tools to "shift" profits to the haven, and additional BEPS tools to avoid paying taxes within the haven (e.g. Ireland's "Green Jersey"). BEPS tools are mostly associated with U.S. technology and life science multinationals. Tax academics showed use of the BEPS tools by U.S. multinationals, via tax havens, maximised long–term U.S. exchequer receipts and shareholder return, at the expense of others.Central Europe
Central Europe is the region comprising the central part of Europe. It is said to occupy continuous territory that are otherwise conventionally Western Europe, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe. The concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical, social and cultural identity. Central Europe is going through a phase of "strategic awakening", with initiatives such as the CEI, Centrope and the Visegrád Four. While the region's economy shows high disparities with regard to income, all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as very highly developed.Corruption
Individual nation articles should be consulted on specific national responses to corruption.In general, corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption is most commonplace in kleptocracies, oligarchies, narco-states and mafia states.
Corruption can occur on different scales. Corruption ranges from small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption), to corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption), and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime. Corruption and crime are endemic sociological occurrences which appear with regular frequency in virtually all countries on a global scale in varying degree and proportion. Individual nations each allocate domestic resources for the control and regulation of corruption and crime. Strategies to counter corruption are often summarized under the umbrella term anti-corruption.Developed country
A developed country, industrialized country, more developed country, or more economically developed country (MEDC), is a sovereign state that has a developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations. Most commonly, the criteria for evaluating the degree of economic development are gross domestic product (GDP), gross national product (GNP), the per capita income, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living. Which criteria are to be used and which countries can be classified as being developed are subjects of debate.
Developed countries have generally post-industrial economies, meaning the service sector provides more wealth than the industrial sector. They are contrasted with developing countries, which are in the process of industrialization or pre-industrial and almost entirely agrarian, some of which might fall into the category of least developed countries. As of 2015, advanced economies comprise 60.8% of global GDP based on nominal values and 42.9% of global GDP based on purchasing-power parity (PPP) according to the International Monetary Fund. In 2017, the ten largest advanced economies by GDP in both nominal and PPP terms were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Disposable household and per capita income
Household income is a measure of the combined incomes of all people sharing a particular household or place of residence. It includes every form of income, e.g., salaries and wages, retirement income, near cash government transfers like food stamps, and investment gains.
Average household incomes need not map directly to measures of an individual's earnings such as per capita income as numbers of people sharing households and numbers of income earners per household can vary significantly between regions and over time.
Average household income can be used as an indicator for the monetary well-being of a country's citizens. Mean or median net household income, after taxes and mandatory contributions, are good indicators of standard of living, because they include only disposable income and acknowledge people sharing accommodation benefit from pooling at least some of their living costs.
It is important to note in the tables below the difference between median and mean income. Median income is the amount that divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. Mean income (average) is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a group by the number of units in that group.Economy of the Republic of Ireland
The economy of Ireland is a knowledge economy, focused on services into high-tech, life sciences and financial services industries. Ireland is an open economy (6th on the Index of Economic Freedom), and ranks first for high-value foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. In the global GDP per capita tables, Ireland ranks 5th of 187 in the IMF table and 6th of 175 in the World Bank ranking.
US multinationals contribute significantly to Ireland's economy, making up 14 of the top 20 Irish firms (by turnover), directly employing a quarter of the private sector labour-force, paying 80% of business taxes, and creating 57% of non-farm private sector OECD value-add. There are no non-US/non-UK foreign firms in Ireland's top 50 firms by turnover (and only one by employees, Lidl). The "multinational tax schemes" used by these US firms contribute to a distortion Ireland's economic statistics (GNI, GNP and GDP). For example, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows Ireland with average leverage on a gross public debt-to-GDP basis (78.8% in 2016), but with the 2nd highest leverage, after Japan, on a gross public debt-per capita basis ($62,686 in 2016). This disconnect led to the 2017 development by the Central Bank of Ireland of Irish modified GNI (or GNI*) for measuring the Irish economy (2016 GDP is 143% of Irish 2016 GNI*, and OECD Irish gross public debt-to-GNI* is 116.5%). Ireland's GNI* per capita ranks it very similar to Germany.
The distortion of Irish economic data by US multinational tax schemes, was a key contributor to the build-up of leverage in the Celtic Tiger, amplifying both Irish consumer optimism (who borrowed to 190% of disposable income, OECD highest), and global capital markets optimism about Ireland (enabled Irish banks to lend over 180% of deposit base, OECD highest). Global capital markets, who ignored Ireland's private sector credit, and OECD/IMF warnings, when Irish GDP was rising during the Celtic Tiger, took fright in the financial crisis. Their withdrawal, from an over-borrowed Irish credit system, precipitated a deep Irish property correction, which led to a crisis in the Irish banking system.The Irish financial crisis severely affected the economy, compounding domestic economic problems related to the collapse of the Irish property bubble. After 24 years of continuous growth at an annual level during 1984–2007, Ireland first experienced a short technical recession from Q2-Q3 2007, followed by a long 2-year recession from Q1 2008 – Q4 2009. In March 2008, Ireland had the highest level of household debt relative to disposable income in the developed world at 190%, causing a further slow down in private consumption, and thus also being one of the reasons for the long lasting recession. The hard economic climate was reported in April 2010, even to have led to a resumed emigration.The stabilisation of the Irish credit bubble required a large transfer of debt from the private sector balance sheet (highest OECD leverage), to the public sector balance sheet (almost unleveraged, pre-crisis), via Irish bank bailouts and public deficit spending. The transfer of this debt means that Ireland, in 2017, had one of the highest levels of both public sector indebtedness, and private sector indebtedness, in the EU-28/OECD.After a year with stagnant economic activity in 2010, Irish real GDP rose by 2.2% in 2011 and 0.2% in 2012, which was mainly driven by improvements in the export sector – while private consumption remained subdued. Economic challenges continued, as the European sovereign-debt crisis caused a new Irish recession starting in Q3 2012, which was still ongoing as of Q2 2013. In May 2013 the European Commission's economic forecast for Ireland predicted its growth rates would return to a positive 1.1% in 2013 and 2.2% in 2014. The Irish economy grew by 4.8% in 2014.
An apparent, but illusory, 2015 GDP growth of 26.3% (GNP of 18.7%) was officially ascribed to tax inversion practices by multinationals accessing Ireland's low tax rates. This growth, labelled 'leprechaun economics', was shown to be driven by Apple restructuring their double Irish subsidiary, ASI, in January 2015. A follow up EU Commission report into Ireland's national accounts showed that even before leprechaun economics, 23% of Ireland's GDP was multinational net royalty payments, implying Irish GDP was inflated to 130% of "true" GDP (before the Apple growth). This led to the Central Bank of Ireland proposing a new replacement metric, modified gross national income (or GNI*), to better represent the "true" Irish economy.Given the importance of US multinationals to Ireland's economy (80% of Irish multinational employment, and 14 of the 20 largest Irish firms), the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is a major challenge to Ireland. Parts of the US TCJA are targeted at Irish multinational tax schemes (especially the move to a modern "territorial tax" system, the introduction of a lower FDII tax on intellectual property, and the counter-Irish GILTI tax regime). In addition, the EU's impending 2018 Digital Sales Tax (and stated desire for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base)), is also seen as an attempt to restrict the use of the Irish multinational tax schemes by US technology firms.Education in Japan
Education in Japan is compulsory at the elementary and lower secondary levels. Most students attend public schools through the lower secondary level, but private education is popular at the upper secondary and university levels.
Education prior to elementary school is provided at kindergartens and day-care centers. Public and private day-care centers take children from under age 1 on up to 5 years old. The programmes for those children aged 3–5 resemble those at kindergartens. The educational approach at kindergartens varies greatly from unstructured environments that emphasize play to highly structured environments that are focused on having the child pass the entrance exam at a private elementary school. The academic year starts from April and ends in March, having summer vacation in August and winter vacation in the end of December to the beginning of January. Also, there are few days of holidays between academic years. The period of academic year is the same all through elementary level to higher educations nationwide.
Japanese students consistently rank highly among OECD students in terms of quality and performance in reading literacy, math, and sciences. The average student scored 540 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the country has one of the world's highest-educated labour forces among OECD countries. Its populace is well educated and its society highly values education as a platform for social mobility and for gaining employment in the country's high-tech economy. The country's large pool of highly educated and skilled individuals is largely responsible for ushering Japan’s post-war economic growth. Tertiary-educated adults in Japan, particularly graduates in sciences and engineering, benefit economically and socially from their education and skills in the country's high tech economy. Spending on education as a proportion of GDP is below the OECD average. Although expenditure per student is comparatively high in Japan, total expenditure relative to GDP remains small. In 2015, Japan’s public spending on education amounted to just 3.5 percent of its GDP, below the OECD average of 4.7%. In 2014, the country ranked fourth for the percentage of 25- to 64-year-olds that have attained tertiary education with 48 percent. In addition, bachelor's degrees are held by 59 percent of Japanese aged 25–34, the second most in the OECD after South Korea. As the Japanese economy is largely scientific and technological based, the labor market demands people who have achieved some form of higher education, particularly related to science and engineering in order to gain a competitive edge when searching for employment opportunities. About 75.9 percent of high school graduates attended a university, junior college, trade school, or other higher education institution.Japan's education system played a central part in Japan's recovery and rapid economic growth in the decades following the end of World War II. After World War II, the Fundamental Law of Education and the School Education Law were enacted. The latter law defined the school system that would be in effect for many decades: six years of elementary school, three years of junior high school, three years of high school, and two or four years of university.
Although Japan ranks highly on the PISA tests, its educational system has been criticized for its focus on standardized testing and conformity; bullying problems; and its strong academic pressure on students.Health system
A health system, also sometimes referred to as health care system or as healthcare system, is the organization of people, institutions, and resources that deliver health care services to meet the health needs of target populations.
There is a wide variety of health systems around the world, with as many histories and organizational structures as there are nations. Implicitly, nations must design and develop health systems in accordance with their needs and resources, although common elements in virtually all health systems are primary healthcare and public health measures. In some countries, health system planning is distributed among market participants. In others, there is a concerted effort among governments, trade unions, charities, religious organizations, or other co-ordinated bodies to deliver planned health care services targeted to the populations they serve. However, health care planning has been described as often evolutionary rather than revolutionary.High tech
High technology, or high tech (sometimes also called frontier technology or frontier tech) is technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced technology available. The opposite of high tech is low technology, referring to simple, often traditional or mechanical technology; for example, a slide rule is a low-tech calculating device.
The phrase was used in a 1958 The New York Times story advocating "atomic energy" for Europe: "... Western Europe, with its dense population and its high technology ...." Robert Metz used the term in a financial column in 1969: "Arthur H. Collins of Collins Radio] controls a score of high technology patents in variety of fields." and in a 1971 article used the abbreviated form, "high tech."A widely-used classification of high-technological manufacturing industries is provided by the OECD. It is based on the intensity of research and development activities used in these industries within OECD countries, resulting in four distinct categories.
Startups working on high technologies (or developing new high technologies) are sometimes referred to as deep tech.Iceland
Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland [ˈistlant]) is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin. The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden's secession from the union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944. Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture, and was among the poorest countries in Europe. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in economic, democratic, social stability, and equality, currently ranking first in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2018, it was ranked as the sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, and it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy. Hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed in October 2008, leading to a severe depression, substantial political unrest, the Icesave dispute, and the institution of capital controls. Some bankers were jailed. Since then, the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism. A law that took effect in 2018 makes it illegal in Iceland for women to be paid less than men.Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects. The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a lightly armed coast guard.List of Permanent Representatives of the United Kingdom to the OECD
The Permanent Representative to the OECD is the senior member of the United Kingdom's delegation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (until 1961 called the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation), based in Paris.
The UK Delegation to the OECD is an independent mission, sharing the same building as the bilateral Embassy.
The Permanent Representative almost always has the personal rank of Ambassador.List of countries by alcohol consumption per capita
This is a list of countries by alcohol consumption measured in equivalent litres of pure alcohol (ethanol) consumed per capita per year.List of metropolitan areas by population
One concept which measures the world's largest cities is that of the metropolitan area, which is based on the concept of a labor market area and is typically defined as an employment core (an area with a high density of available jobs) and the surrounding areas that have strong commuting ties to the core. There is currently no generally accepted, globally consistent definition of exactly what constitutes a metropolitan area, thus making comparisons between cities in different countries especially difficult. However, for consistency, the sources on this article include official figures from governments only.
As an alternative to the metropolitan area, Eurostat introduced the concept of the Larger Urban Zone in 2004. Similarly, OECD defines Functional Urban Areas for cities in OECD countries. Both Larger Urban Zone and Functional Urban Area define a city as an urban core surrounded by a commuting zone, and so are similar to the general concept of the "metropolitan area". Eurostat only computes Larger Urban Zone populations for European Union member states, candidate members, and European Free Trade Area members. OECD computes Functional Urban Area populations for OECD member states. These two statistics are therefore not available for most developing countries.OECD Anti-Bribery Convention
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (officially Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions) is an anti-corruption convention of the OECD aimed at reducing political corruption and corporate crime in developing countries, by encouraging sanctions against bribery in international business transactions carried out by companies based in the Convention member countries. Its goal is to create a truly level playing field in today's international business environment. The Convention requires adherents to criminalise acts of offering or giving bribe, but not of soliciting or receiving bribes.
A 2017 study found that multinational corporations that were subject to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention were less likely to engage in bribery than corporations that were based in non-member states.Permanent establishment
A permanent establishment (PE) is a fixed place of business which generally gives rise to income or value-added tax liability in a particular jurisdiction. The term is defined in many income tax treaties and in most European Union Value Added Tax systems. The tax systems in some civil-law countries impose income taxes and value-added taxes only where an enterprise maintains a PE in the country concerned. Definitions of PEs under tax law or tax treaties may contain specific inclusions or exclusions.Programme for International Student Assessment
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in member and non-member nations intended to evaluate educational systems by measuring 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading. It was first performed in 2000 and then repeated every three years. Its aim is to provide comparable data with a view to enabling countries to improve their education policies and outcomes. It measures problem solving and cognition. The 2015 version of the test was published on 6 December 2016.. The results of the 2018 data collection will be released on Tuesday 3 December 2019.Tax haven
A tax haven is generally defined as a country or place with very low "effective" rates of taxation for foreigners ("headline" rates may be higher). In some traditional definitions, a tax haven also offers financial secrecy. However, while countries with high levels of secrecy but also high rates of taxation (e.g. the United States and Germany in the Financial Secrecy Index ("FSI") rankings), can feature in some tax haven lists, they are not universally considered as tax havens. In contrast, countries with lower levels of secrecy but also low "effective" rates of taxation (e.g. Ireland in the FSI rankings), appear in most § Tax haven lists. The consensus around effective tax rates has led academics to note that the term "tax haven" and "offshore financial centre" are almost synonymous.Traditional tax havens, like Jersey, are open about zero rates of taxation, but as a consequence have limited bilateral tax treaties. Modern corporate tax havens have non-zero "headline" rates of taxation and high levels of OECD–compliance, and thus have large networks of bilateral tax treaties. However, their base erosion and profit shifting ("BEPS") tools enable corporates to achieve "effective" tax rates closer to zero, not just in the haven but in all countries with which the haven has tax treaties; putting them on tax haven lists. According to modern studies, the § Top 10 tax havens include corporate-focused havens like Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the U.K., while Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean (the Caymans, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands), feature as both major traditional tax havens and major corporate tax havens. Corporate tax havens often serve as "conduits" to traditional tax havens.Use of tax havens, traditional and corporate, results in a loss of tax revenues to countries which are not tax havens. Estimates of total amounts of taxes avoided vary, but the most credible have a range of US$100–250 billion per annum. In addition, capital held in tax havens can permanently leave the tax base (base erosion). Estimates of capital held in tax havens also vary: the most credible estimates are between $7–10 trillion (up to 10% of global assets). The harm of traditional and corporate tax havens has been particularly noted in developing nations, where the tax revenues are needed to build infrastructure.At least 15% of countries are tax havens. Tax havens are mostly successful and well-governed economies, and being a haven has often brought prosperity. The top 10–15 GDP-per-capita countries, excluding oil and gas exporters, are tax havens. Because of § Inflated GDP-per-capita (due to accounting BEPS flows), havens are prone to over-leverage (international capital misprice the artificial debt-to-GDP). This can lead to severe credit cycles and/or property/banking crises when international capital flows are repriced. Ireland's Celtic Tiger, and the subsequent financial crisis in 2009–13, is an example. Jersey is another. Research shows the § U.S. as the largest beneficiary, and U.S. multinational use of tax havens, has maximised long-term U.S. exchequer receipts; however experts note OECD jurisdictions accommodated the U.S. to overcome shortcomings in the U.S. "worldwide" tax system (others use "territorial" systems, and don't need havens).
The focus on combating tax havens (e.g. OECD–IMF projects) has been on common standards, transparency and data sharing. The rise of OECD-compliant corporate tax havens, whose BEPS tools are responsible for most of the quantum of lost taxes, has led to criticism of this focus, versus actual taxes paid. Higher-tax jurisdictions, such as the United States and many member states of the European Union, departed from the OECD BEPS Project in 2017–18, to introduce anti-BEPS tax regimes, targeted raising net taxes paid by corporations in corporate tax havens (e.g. the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("TCJA") GILTI–BEAT–FDII tax regimes and move to a hybrid "territorial" tax system, and the proposed EU Digital Services Tax regime and the proposed EU Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base).Transfer pricing
In taxation and accounting, transfer pricing refers to the rules and methods for pricing transactions within and between enterprises under common ownership or control. Because of the potential for cross-border controlled transactions to distort taxable income, tax authorities in many countries can adjust intragroup transfer prices that differ from what would have been charged by unrelated enterprises dealing at arm’s length (the arm’s-length principle). The OECD and World Bank recommend intragroup pricing rules based on the arm’s-length principle, and 19 of the 20 members of the G20 have adopted similar measures through bilateral treaties and domestic legislation, regulations, or administrative practice. Countries with transfer pricing legislation generally follow the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations in most respects, although their rules can differ on some important details.Where adopted, transfer pricing rules allow tax authorities to adjust prices for most cross-border intragroup transactions, including transfers of tangible or intangible property, services, and loans. For example, a tax authority may increase a company’s taxable income by reducing the price of goods purchased from an affiliated foreign manufacturer or raising the royalty the company must charge its foreign subsidiaries for rights to use a proprietary technology or brand name. These adjustments are generally calculated using one or more of the transfer pricing methods specified in the OECD guidelines and are subject to judicial review or other dispute resolution mechanisms.Although transfer pricing is sometimes inaccurately presented by commentators as a tax avoidance practice or technique, the term refers to a set of substantive and administrative regulatory requirements imposed by governments on certain taxpayers. However, aggressive intragroup pricing – especially for debt and intangibles – has played a major role in corporate tax avoidance, and it was one of the issues identified when the OECD released its base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action plan in 2013. The OECD’s 2015 final BEPS reports called for country-by-country reporting and stricter rules for transfers of risk and intangibles but recommended continued adherence to the arm’s-length principle. These recommendations have been criticized by many taxpayers and professional service firms for departing from established principles and by some academics and advocacy groups for failing to make adequate changes.Transfer pricing should not be conflated with fraudulent trade mis-invoicing, which is a technique for concealing illicit transfers by reporting falsified prices on invoices submitted to customs officials. “Because they often both involve mispricing, many aggressive tax avoidance schemes by multinational corporations can easily be confused with trade misinvoicing. However, they should be regarded as separate policy problems with separate solutions,” according to Global Financial Integrity, a non-profit research and advocacy group focused on countering illicit financial flows.Western Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. The concept is in limited use, as it significantly overlaps with the Middle East (or the Near East), the main difference usually being the exclusion of the majority of Egypt (which would be counted as part of North Africa) and the inclusion of the Caucasus. The term is sometimes used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics. The total population of Western Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015. Although the term "Western Asia" is mostly used as a convenient division of contemporary sovereign states into a manageable number of world regions for statistical purposes, it is sometimes used instead of the more geopolitical term "Middle East".
In an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and archaeology to divide the Fertile Crescent into the "Asiatic" or "Western Asian" cultures as opposed to ancient Egypt. As a geographic concept, Western Asia includes the Levant, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, the Armenian Highlands, the South Caucasus, the Arabian peninsula as well as the Sinai Peninsula, making Egypt a transcontinental country.
The term is used pragmatically and has no "correct" or generally agreed-upon definition. The National Geographic Style Manual as well as Maddison's The World Economy: Historical Statistics (2003) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) only includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Palestinian territories (called West Bank and Gaza in the latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen as West Asian countries. In contrast to this definition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in its 2015 yearbook also includes Armenia and Azerbaijan, and excludes Israel (as Other) and Turkey (as Europe).
Unlike the UNIDO, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) excludes Iran from Western Asia and includes Turkey, Georgia, and Cyprus in the region. In the United Nation's geopolitical Eastern European Group, Armenia and Georgia are included in Eastern Europe, whereas Cyprus and East Thracian Turkey are in Southern Europe. These three nations are listed in the European category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
National members of West Asian sports governing bodies are limited to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Olympic Council of Asia's multi-sport event West Asian Games are contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the region's sports organisations are the West Asia Basketball Association, West Asian Billiards and Snooker Federation, West Asian Football Federation, and the West Asian Tennis Federation.