A class of graduate students from Seton Hall University’s John C.
Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations has recently
concluded a landmark study on the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD).
The 34 OECD member countries have their
economies reviewed by their peers every 18 months. This process, which
allows the organization to recommend economic reforms for each country,
is known as surveillance.
As Dr. Martin Edwards, Associate Professor
at the Whitehead School notes, “The OECD is understudied relative to
other international economic organizations. Given the global economic
crisis, this is a perfect time to assess if surveillance makes a
difference and how it can be made to work better.”
Graduate students in Dr. Edwards’ International Organizations
class evaluated the OECD’s recommendations for 24 randomly selected
countries over the three most recent review cycles. They analyzed the
extent to which recommendations that were adopted by countries, and they
also assessed the quality of the OECD’s surveillance reports. Students
directed all aspects of the project’s evolution, from the design of the
study to its completion and dissemination.
Among the project's findings:
- 52% of OECD recommendations were adopted and 28% of all recommendations were coded as proposed or under review.
- Governments increasingly adopted these recommendations when facing
economic crises, suggesting a meaningful impact of surveillance.
- Roughly two in five country studies lack reasons why reforms are not
adopted. Only three in ten country studies include a discussion of
dissenting views between the country and the OECD.
Among the project’s recommendations:
- Surveillance should take a multiyear perspective.
- The issue of non-adoption of reforms needs to receive greater attention in OECD documents.
- The OECD needs to consider the domestic political context in countries when it offers advice.
To view the report and project data, please visit the project website.
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