OECD warns against waning reform effort to lift productivity

BADEN BADEN, Germany (Reuters) - Reforms to boost productivity are slowing in many countries, raising the risk that some industrialized nations will fall into a trap of low growth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Friday.

With productivity growth in a persistent and widespread decline for years, some of the world’s top economies are failing in their reform efforts, a risk to wages and living standards, the OECD said in a regular report called ‘Going for Growth’.

“The pace of reform has slowed in countries which have been particularly active in the previous two-year period, such as Mexico, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Poland and Spain, as well as in a number of countries where reform activity was not so intense, including Australia, Indonesia and Slovenia,” it said.

But the group also found praise for several countries, including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France Israel, Italy and Sweden.

“The recipe for reform varies by country, but the ingredients include measures to promote business dynamism and the diffusion of innovation, to help workers to cope with the rapid turnover of firms and jobs, and to better prepare youth for the labor market of the future,” the OECD said.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi