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Special Reports


Presentation “Sustainable Development Goals: Are the Rich Countries Ready?”

Sustainable Development GoalsAt the end of September 2015, world leaders from all the UN member states met in New York for the largest ever gathering of heads of state. They adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals to guide policy over the next 15 years. Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals that helped halve child mortality in developing regions, these new goals will also apply to the rich nations. They will not only address high-income countries as donors of development assistance, but will also demand domestic reform in the OECD nations themselves.

The new Bertelsmann Stiftung study was published just ahead of the summit. As an initial stress test of rich countries for the SDGs, the study highlights best practices for achieving the goals over the coming 15 years. Kofi Annan writes in his foreword: “The study shows that high-income countries must do more to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. […] This study will hopefully spark reform debates on sustainability and social justice in many high-income countries. We owe it to our planet and its people.” This session aims to make a start in making his wish become reality. We will discuss what reforms will be needed in order to achieve the ambitious set of new UN goals.

Special Report on Global Demographics

Special Report on Global DemographicsEdward P. Lazear, James Liang

The premise of this session is that demographic structure affects economic activity, beyond the obvious direct effects on a country’s budget. The entire structure of the labor force and skill acquisition depends on demographics and the resulting skill distribution in the labor force are affected by demographic structure. In particular, societies in which populations are shrinking are mechanically societies that are aging. As a consequence, the top of firm hierarchies tend to be dominated by older individuals in countries with shrinking populations. This in turn implies that it is more difficult for the young to acquire the skills necessary to run and start new businesses. It follows that in aging societies, the level of skills possessed by the population are (in steady state) lower than in societies that are not aging. All of this has the final result of lower growth and lower standards of living in aging societies.

The implications for solutions are straightforward.

  1. Countries that place exogenous caps on reproductive activity by using, for example, “one child policies” are hurting their prospects for future growth. Instead of government imposed constraints, choice of family size that occurs in free functioning market economies with democratic institutions should be allowed. Many countries found in Europe and Asia, even with such institutions, have declining populations with birth rates below replacement. Any additional impediments to population growth should be avoided.
  2. In countries with declining population, immigration should be encouraged. Although immigration of the young and entrepreneurial is particularly beneficial, immigrants tend on average to be younger than the populations of the countries to which the migrate without explicit policies promoting immigration among the youth. Additionally, as a number of economists have shown, immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial then the average individual in the recipient (as well as donor) populations.



The 5 Presidents Report on the Reform of the Euro Area Governance: Content and Implementation

Dr. Vinhas de Souza will speak about the recommendations for the reform of the euro area governance structure as outlined in the so-called 'Five Presidents Report', a work with which his team at the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC) -the internal advisory service to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker- was closely associated. He will also discuss the ongoing process of the implementation of some of those recommendations.