Are OECD Policy Recommendations for Public Sector Reform Biased against Welfare States? Evidence from a New Database

Reprint No. 2017:41

Author(s): Andreas Bergh, Margareta Dackehag and Martin RodeYear: 2017 Title: European Journal of Political Economy Volume (No.): 48 (June) Pages: 3–15
Online article (restrictions may apply)

Policy advice by the OECD has long been at the heart of academic debates on welfare state reform, with frequent claims questioning the ideological orientation of recommendations. This paper constructs an indicator of perceived reform need for 24 countries, quantifying the policy advice contained in the OECD Economic Surveys around 1985, 1995, and 2005. These recommendations describe a policy consensus that is based on competition, work incentives, monetary reform, fiscal discipline, and labor market reform. Empirically, perceived need for reform is well explained by preceding levels of economic freedom. In particular, countries with more government intervention, lower property rights protection, and more regulation are perceived to have a bigger reform need. In turn, perceived reform need has no explanatory power for subsequent changes in social expenditure and welfare state entitlements. Only in countries with right wing governments, perceived reform need might be followed by marginal reductions in welfare state entitlements, but definitely not in social expenditure.

Bergh, Andreas, Margareta Dackehag and Martin Rode (2017), "Are OECD Policy Recommendations for Public Sector Reform Biased against Welfare States? Evidence from a New Database". European Journal of Political Economy 48(June), 3–15.

Andreas Bergh


Mob: 070 779 0734

An Agenda for Europe

Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Omslag 2017 Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.jpg

The authors of this book, Niklas Elert, Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula, advise the economies of the European Union to become more entrepreneurial in promoting innovation and economic growth. The authors propose a reform strategy with respect to several aspects to achieve this goal.


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se