Focus on social challenges

This page features the latest OECD data, recommendations and policy advice regarding the impact of COVID-19 on social protection, well-being, education and skills, as well as a curated collection of earlier OECD social content.

Disrupted learning

COVID-19 and fragile contexts

The employment gap narrows

Latest social challenges insights

Migration

International Migration Outlook 2022

Report

Education

Education at a Glance 2022

Report

Disinformation

Is digital media literacy the answer to our disinformation woes?

Podcast

Children in care

Assisting care leavers

Report

GENDER

Worn out: COVID-19, women and the Great Exhaustion

Podcast

Young people

Delivering for youth

Policy response

Covid & Employment

Riding the waves: Adjusting job retention schemes through the COVID-19 crisis

Policy response

Inclusive recovery

Spotlight on an inclusive recovery

Story

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01/12/2022
The OECD Pensions Outlook discusses how to introduce, develop and strengthen asset-backed pension arrangements, the role that employers can play in their provision, and the implication of different fee structures on individuals saving for retirement and on providers. The 2022 edition focuses on describing best practices for developing mortality tables and providing policy guidance on how to design, implement and continue the operation of non-guaranteed lifetime retirement income arrangements.
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30/11/2022
Tourism has been hit hard by the depth and duration of the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as the sector was starting to rebound, the economic fallout from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has dealt a fresh blow to recovery prospects. The 2022 edition of OECD Tourism Trends and Policies analyses tourism performance and policy trends to support recovery across 50 OECD countries and partner economies. It examines the key tourism recovery challenges and outlook ahead, and highlights the need for co-ordinated, forward-looking policy approaches to set tourism on a path to a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive future. Evidence on the significance of the tourism economy is presented, with data covering domestic, inbound and outbound tourism, enterprises and employment, and internal tourism consumption. Tourism policy priorities, reforms and developments are analysed and examples of country practices highlighted. Thematic chapters provide insights on building resilience in the tourism ecosystem and promoting a green tourism recovery.
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26/11/2022
Nearly three years after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a succession of mutually reinforcing crises and a challenging global context are putting the multilateral development system under pressure. Multilateral development finance is stretched across an ever expanding list of priorities, ranging from humanitarian crisis response to the provision of global and regional public goods. The urgent nature of these crises requires renewed efforts to strengthen the financial capacity of the multilateral development system but should not divert attention from other parts of the reform agenda, such as the need to reduce the fragmentation of the multilateral architecture.This third edition of the Multilateral Development Finance report presents recent trends in multilateral development finance in order to inform decisions by the members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) on their strategic engagement with multilateral organisations. It presents an overview of challenges and ongoing reform efforts, and examines the evolution of financial flows to, and from, multilateral organisations. The report is supplemented by online statistics on DAC members’ multilateral contributions, available in the Development Co-operation Profiles.
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25/11/2022
Inequalities not only affect our lives, but also the lives of our children in generations after us. How can we ensure that our children have more opportunities than we have, that generations after us are rising in society and not limited by sticky floors? Romina Boarini, Director of the OECD Centre on Well-Being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity, helps us understand social mobility, what it is, how it works, what government and societies can do to help and what the OECD is doing.
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25/11/2022
The current economic environment, the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing megatrends, such as digitalisation and the green transformation, threaten equality of opportunity and social mobility for current and future generations. High-quality cross-country evidence is necessary to implement policies to mitigate these threats, but critical data gaps remain.This paper provides updated indicators on equality of opportunity and social mobility across OECD countries and discusses ongoing challenges and opportunities to break down barriers to social mobility and promote equal opportunities for all. It also reviews four areas where more evidence is needed to inform effective policies: the extent of opportunity gaps across population groups; how unequal upbringings affect chances later in life; how growing economic insecurity and large wealth inequalities limit social mobility; and unequal distribution of opportunities across cities and regions. Work in these areas will inform the agenda of the OECD Observatory on Social Mobility and Equal Opportunity.
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25/11/2022
Growing up in socio-economic disadvantage has important and long-lasting effects on children’s lives. Children from disadvantaged households often fall behind in many areas of well-being and development, with effects that continue to limit their opportunities and outcomes – including their health and labour market outcomes – long after they reach adulthood. Drawing on Europe-wide survey data from 27 countries, this paper explores how childhood socio-economic disadvantage affects later adult labour market and health outcomes, and evaluates the country-level GDP-equivalent cost of childhood disadvantage due to lost employment, lost earnings, and lost health, as well as the costs of lost government revenue and benefit spending. Results point to large costs for societies from childhood socio-economic disadvantage, totalling on average the equivalent of 3.4% of GDP annually.
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25/11/2022
This seventh edition of Health at a Glance Asia/Pacific presents a set of key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health-care resources and utilisation, health-care expenditure and financing, and quality of care across 27 Asia-Pacific countries and territories. It also provides a series of dashboards to compare performance across countries and territories, and a thematic analysis on the health impact of COVID-19. Drawing on a wide range of data sources, it builds on the format used in previous editions of Health at a Glance, and gives readers a better understanding of the factors that affect the health of populations and the performance of health systems in these countries and territories. Each of the indicators is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and territories, and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicators and any limitations in data comparability. An annex provides additional information on the demographic and economic context in which health systems operate.
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22/11/2022
Policies to promote employee health and well-being not only protect from occupational risks, but also provide benefits for individuals and employers. Unhealthy lifestyles, characterised by high levels of stress, sedentary behaviour and poor eating habits, affect the health of employees and negatively impact workplace productivity. Governments play a key role in promoting health and well-being in the workplace. This report analyses policy levers used by governments to incentivise employers to promote health and well-being at work in ten countries, including G7 countries and OECD countries in the Asia/Pacific region. These include regulation, financial incentives, guidelines, and certification and award schemes. The report also explores how governments can facilitate Environmental, Social and Governance investment to encourage health promotion at work.
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21/11/2022
The effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (with its dramatic impact on energy and food prices), the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and extreme weather events in some parts of the world in 2022 are expected to reverberate into 2023. International implications for education and training include economic uncertainty and tight labour markets, ongoing digital transformation, and continued growth and influence of mass information. These trends challenge education policymakers to transform existing pathways in their countries and economies, so people can become effective lifelong learners to navigate change. Building on the OECD’s Framework of Responsiveness and Resilience in Education Policy, as well as analysis of international policies and practices from over 40 education systems implemented mainly since 2020, this report identifies three areas of policy effort that education policymakers can undertake in 2023: 1) enhancing the relevance of learning pathways; 2) easing transitions throughout learners’ pathways; and 3) nurturing learners’ aspirations. Lessons emerging from recent policy efforts are synthesised into key policy pointers for 2023. The report has been prepared with evidence from the Education Policy Outlook series—the OECD’s analytical observatory of education policy.
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18/11/2022
Fully online and hybrid study programmes have emerged at a rapid rate across higher education. However, the negative experience of some students, instructors and institutions with emergency remote instruction during the COVID 19 pandemic has led to public concerns over the quality of digital study programmes. As a result, public authorities across the OECD have started to reflect on how to embed the quality assurance (QA) of digital education into their existing QA frameworks for higher education. This Working Paper aims to assist policy makers as they seek to adapt their higher education QA systems to digital education by: reviewing the advice and guidance provided by international and regional quality assurance organisations; analysing the standards and indicators for digital higher education developed by QA agencies; identifying trends and best practice from higher education institutions for the quality management of digital study programmes; and discussing how public authorities can support institutions to enhance their internal quality management policies and processes for digital teaching and learning
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16/11/2022
This policy paper, developed in collaboration with the European Ombudsman, provides guidance to governments on ensuring transparency and accountability in the use of COVID-19 recovery funds. With a specific focus on the funding provided through the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the paper identifies ways for local, national and EU administrations to promote access to information, enhance public communication, and strengthen citizen and stakeholder participation and oversight in the implementation phases of recovery funding. Finally, it highlights the role of regional, national and supranational organisations (such as the aforementioned European Ombudsman) in fostering the open government principles of transparency, accountability, and stakeholder participation throughout the public decision-making and spending cycle, within the remits of their respective mandates.
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15/11/2022
Being able to swim empowers individuals to make choices, have agency, and be free to choose core aspects of their life, such as working safely on or near water. It is also associated with lifelong health benefits and reduces the risk of drowning. Using data from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll 2019, this paper provides the first global estimates of adults’ ability to swim without assistance. Individuals in high-income countries are considerably more likely to report being able to swim without assistance than individuals in low-income countries. Disparities also exist within countries. In particular, women are less likely to be able to swim without assistance than men in virtually all countries, birth cohorts, and levels of education. Investing in reducing inequalities in life skills, such as swimming, can foster economic development and empowerment, especially in light of threats, such as climate change.
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15/11/2022
Digital transformation affects every aspect of our lives, providing new spaces and tools for us to connect, work, consume, and enjoy our rights. It offers a multitude of social and economic opportunities, but also brings new and complex risks. An empowering and safe digital environment that puts people first is therefore a core policy goal of the digital age. Through the lens of a fictional family navigating these opportunities and risks, this paper looks at how digital transformation impacts us as individuals, be it as citizens, consumers, or workers. It outlines the policy landscape, and describes the international, multi-stakeholder, and nuanced efforts needed to strike a balance between different rights, interests, and values. A background paper for the 2022 Digital Economy Ministerial meeting, this paper supports senior policy makers in designing and achieving a human-centric digital transformation.
15/11/2022
OECD Regions and Cities at a Glance presents indicators on individual regions and cities since the turn of the new millennium. It provides a comprehensive picture of past successes and likely challenges that regions and cities in OECD members and partner countries will face in their efforts to build stronger, more sustainable and more resilient economies. By relying on a combination of traditional and more innovative data sources, OECD Regions and Cities at a Glance describes the evolving nature of spatial disparities within countries from a multidimensional perspective. New topics covered by this edition include the economic impact of recent shocks, such as the pandemic and the energy crisis, housing affordability, climate change and digitalisation.
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10/11/2022
Successive crises including COVID-19, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the climate emergency are exacerbating inequalities between and within countries and stifling progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. While developed countries deployed historic stimulus packages to build back better, developing countries lacked fiscal and monetary buffers to respond. Countries with the fewest resources face challenging trade-offs between short-term rescue and long-term financing for a sustainable recovery. The SDG financing gap in developing countries grew due to a drop in available resources called upon in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda coupled with rising financing needs. Official Development Assistance (ODA), or aid, played an important role to help narrow the gap, but could not do so on its own. Global crises open a window of opportunity for SDG alignment of broader resources to narrow the gap. Growing trillions in developed countries aim to reduce risks, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. However, resources are not reaching the countries most in need. Urgent action is needed to remove bottlenecks for a more equitable and needs-based allocation of sustainable finance.
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09/11/2022
Young people increasingly prioritise pursuing careers with positive social and environmental impacts. Social enterprises can help them fulfil this ambition. Youth-led social enterprises can address pressing social and environmental issues while providing young people with opportunities in the labour market. Despite these benefits, these entities often struggle due to the age of their founders and the specificities of their businesses. This paper analyses the drivers and potential benefits of youth-led social enterprises (section 1), assesses the challenges they face (section 2) and provides policy guidance to address them through tailored support programmes based on best practice examples and experiences from OECD countries and beyond (section 3).
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07/11/2022
What challenges and opportunities does the green transition entail for Latin America and the Caribbean? This 15th edition of the Latin American Economic Outlook explores options for the region to recast its production models, transform its energy matrix and create better jobs in the process. It argues that, for this transition to be just, stronger social-protection systems and open dialogue must help build new, sustainable social contracts. In support of this ambitious agenda, the report presents an array of financing options, including green finance, and advocates for renewed international partnerships.
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31/10/2022
Developed as one of the resources within the context of the OECD /Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI)ERI project entitled “Fostering and assessing students' creative and critical thinking skills in higher education”, this paper focuses on ways in which students’ creativity and critical thinking can be fostered in higher education by contextualising such efforts within the broader framework of academics’ professional learning. Intended for system or institution-level stakeholders, the paper draws on the empirical literature, review articles, and meta-analyses, reports, institutional websites, and input from project participants to: (a) highlight models and best practices of academics’ professional learning as well as institutional and individual factors which render professional learning desirable, valued, and effective, and (b) elaborate key elements in professional learning which institutions can introduce and/or strengthen to promote instruction that fosters cognitive, social and emotional processes associated with students’ creativity and critical thinking.
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11/10/2022
One in seven working-age adults identifies as having a disability in OECD countries, a share that is also substantial and growing among young people (8% in 2019). Many of them are excluded from meaningful work and have low levels of income and social engagement. This report documents the current labour market situation of people with disability, who continue to face large employment, unemployment and poverty gaps compared with people without disability. The report concludes that the goal set up some twenty years ago of making disability policies pro-active and employment-oriented has not been achieved. In particular, key areas of disability policy have received too little attention so far, such as policies to support young people with disability, improve the skills of people with disability, and intervene early in the course of a health problem or disability. The report calls for rigorous disability mainstreaming in all relevant policies and practices as the missing link to better labour market inclusion.
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10/10/2022
The 2022 edition of International Migration Outlook analyses recent developments in migration movements and the labour market inclusion of immigrants in OECD countries. It also monitors recent policy changes in migration governance and integration in OECD countries. This edition includes a special chapter on the policy responses by OECD countries to the large inflow of refugees from Ukraine as well as a series of three short chapters on international students analysing respectively recent trends, attraction and retention policies as well as the economic impact of international students. The Outlook also includes country notes and a detailed statistical annex.
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