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  1. Structural Divergence and Crisis in the Eurozone: The Role of NAIRU Economics
  2. Raphael A. Espinoza
  3. Christophe Rault | Université d'Orléans (Loire Valley University) -
  4. Economy of Spain
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The idea of shifting the tax burden away from labour and capital, whilst increasing taxes on consumption, properties and environmental resources, has also received large support. It is again suggested that efficiency - induced neutrality should characterize the design of the main taxes. While those political factors that have impeded reforms in recent years are still at work, we should remember that tax systems also have other targets than that of favouring neutrality - efficiency, and that in some countries including Italy the most urgent, radical reform required is the downsizing of an abnormal level of tax evasion.

ET AL. BECK, T. HAU, H. KEEN, M. Barroso, May 9th. Kleinknecht, A. Storm and R. Fadda and P. London: Routledge, pp. Lane, P. Trinity College Dublin. Lazonick, W. Online article 4. Lee, S. McCann eds Regulating for Decent Work. Lucchese, M. Garibaldo, M. Baglioni, C. Casey and V. Ma, G. Basel: Bank for International Settlements. Mazzucato, M. Mortensen, D. Nechio, F. Paris: OECD.

Simonazzi, A. Ginzburg and G. Solow, R. What is it Good for? Spiegel, M. Storm, S. Temin, P. Vines The Leaderless Economy. Wade, R. The reform will need to ensure a better visibility of future pension levels. To avoid creating inequities between workers and retirees, it will also be necessary to review the rules for adjusting past earnings based on wages and adjust the other parameters to ensure the sustainability of the pension system Boulhol, Several measures would be desirable.

A revision of bonuses could make gradual retirement more attractive OECD, d. An alternative solution would be to abolish contributions for those who have reached full pension entitlements and continue to work.


Structural Divergence and Crisis in the Eurozone: The Role of NAIRU Economics

Raising the statutory retirement age, eventually by indexing it to life expectancy, could also help accelerate the increase in effective retirement age OECD, a. Similarly, survivor pension schemes could be reviewed to increase incentives to work and reduce their costs OECD, c. Finally, it will be important to ensure the convergence of the parameters of the special pension regimes COR, Family-related pension benefits also appear outdated. They are heterogeneous across pension schemes and the third child top up tend to benefit more men than women and affluent families Vignon, Public spending on pension is set to decline together with replacement rates A.

Public spending on pension, European Commission projections Gross replacement rates are measured as the very first pension benefit relative to the last wage before retirement. Average contributory period for new pensions. Contributory periods can increase for several reasons, such as, for example, rising statutory retirement ages that force employees or higher employment rates. To contain the ongoing rise in health expenditures, it is particularly important to encourage health practitioners to adopt more efficient behaviours and stem the rise in pharmaceutical spending. The development of capitation payments to remunerate health professionals for the prevention and treatment of.

In addition, the share of generics in the reimbursed drug market is low in international comparison. Targeted information for hospitals and primary care providers should be strengthened to improve the relevance of prescriptions, and to apply reimbursement ceilings to a wider range of drugs. Reforming the delivery of public services to improve their efficiency Operating and personnel outlays are high and increased rapidly in some sectors Figure The authorities intend to reduce the number of civil servants by by , which corresponds to cuts of the central government and local government workforces by 2.

To meet these targets, they reorganise further the tax administration and deploy a new voluntary departure programme. The public sector wage bill is high A. The government wage bill is elevated Using digital investment to mutualise the face-to-face delivery of public services would be a good move. Mutualisation can lower costs and promote job mobility across government functions without jeopardising the quality of public services.

OECD countries that restructured the way public service is delivered to boost productivity through economies of scale and scope include Canada that merged multiple agencies into a consolidated public service organisation in Service Canada or Norway that established in a unified labour and welfare organisation NAV. France could consider following the one-stop-shop delivery model of public services based on the results of the experiments currently.

However, the large-scale implementation of a one-stop-shop system for public services would require significant preparation to avoid the undesirable effects of hasty mutualisation.

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Table 8. Past OECD recommendations to reduce public spending and boost its efficiency Main OECD recommendations Move towards a single pension system to improve labour mobility and lower management costs.

Raphael A. Espinoza

Then, gradually increase the minimum retirement age in line with life expectancy. Reform public employee job-mobility rules, and reduce the number of civil servants through a targeted approach, redefining the duties of government, for example with the help of an external audit. Expand electronic health records to improve health-care co-ordination. Summary of actions taken since the Survey Discussions with stakeholders to move to a single pension system started in , and the reform will be voted in The authorities announced quantitative objectives to reduce the number of civil servants in central and local governments by The authorities also target to increase the take-up of generic drugs and develop bundled payments for some long-term diseases.

The broadening of tax bases will have to go along with lower tax rates, particularly the progressivity of the tax wedge on low- and middle-income households, to strengthen social cohesion. Thorough regular evaluations of tax expenditures have room for improvement, and the authorities are introducing new tax expenditures such as tax-free overtime work, which can have adverse effects on hiring and entails significant dead-weigh costs.

The benefits of tax expenditures should be systematically evaluated after a few years of implementation. Such reports should be made public and if some tax expenditures are deemed inefficient, the government should phase them out or explain why it wishes to maintain them. Moreover, the case for removing tax preferences in favour of the housing sector is strong, as they can result in a misallocation of capital, away from unsubsidised business activities that are more productive Arnold et al. Estimated tax expenditures for the housing sector are sizeable about 0.

Reducing these tax expenditures would help ensure neutrality of the tax system and promote a fairer tax system, since capital income is more unevenly distributed than labour income. Reducing tax exemptions on the inheritance and gift taxes would help tackle wealth inequality with knock-on effects on equity and intergenerational mobility. However, the progressivity of the inheritance and gift taxes is limited as tax breaks mostly benefit wealthy households Panel B , which can fuel a feeling of an unfair taxation system among the population.

Yet, a well-designed inheritance tax may be a more efficient and less administratively costly way of addressing wealth inequality than a net wealth tax OECD, d. For example, eliminating the distinct tax treatment for estate purposes of life insurance savings vehicles for large life-insurance contracts would be welcome. Tax breaks for the estate tax are large A. Tax revenues from estate and gift taxes are large 0.

Distribution by centile of inheritances received by children; Panel B shows that the top 0. The VAT tax system is complicated by the use of many reduced rates on selected items and exemptions, leading to substantial VAT revenue shortfalls Figure 24; Table 9. Social policy targets are more efficiently reached through targeted social transfers or the personal income tax PIT than through reduced VAT rates. The employment gains of reduced rates on selected sectors such as hotels and restaurants also seem limited in that the benefits appear to have largely benefitted to hotel and restaurant owners Benzarti and Carloni, , and such reduced rates tend to benefit to the most affluent households.

Removing some of the VAT tax breaks, particularly those that benefit the wealthiest households, would be less distortive, and would give room to sustain efforts to lower the taxation on households or businesses see below. The VRR is an indicator of the loss of VAT revenue as a consequence of exemptions and reduced rates, fraud, evasion and tax planning.

Table 9. Reduce registration fees, and increase taxes on immovable property. Use lower social contributions as an opportunity to give a bigger role to the progressive income tax by lowering the basic allowance. Remove personal tax breaks on capital income, and lower the tax rate. Summary of actions taken since the Survey No action taken. No action taken. Conversely to increasing taxes on immovable property, the repeal of the housing tax runs against an increase in taxes on immovable property. The tax base of the wealth tax was narrowed to real estate assets only.

Christophe Rault | Université d'Orléans (Loire Valley University) -

Some tax breaks applying on large life-savings contracts were removed in Making taxes more favourable to employment and productivity The tax burden on businesses is hefty The large number of taxes levied on businesses go along with frequent changes to exemptions and tax credits. This can be a barrier to firm entry and productivity growth, particularly taxes on production that affect companies regardless of their economic situation. Taxes on production stand at 3. Moreover, government revenues derived from the corporate income tax, net of tax credits, are low despite high statutory tax rates Panels C and D.

Overall, taxes on production consist of about 40 taxes levied by the central government, and, for the most part, by local governments on capital and labour. Efforts to eliminate low-yield taxes on businesses are a first step in reducing the tax burden of businesses.

This should go along with efforts to reduce the distortions induced by some tax bases. Eliminating tax expenditures on businesses, particularly those related to reduced VAT rates, would also give room to cut taxes on production, promoting a more efficient tax system. Business taxation is hefty A. Taxes on production exclude taxes on households. Employers' actual compulsory social security contributions, including governments. The employers' contributions-to-GDP ratio is expected to decrease by 0. Combined central and sub-central statutory corporate income tax rates - as of - given by the central government rate less deductions for sub-national taxes plus the sub-central rate.

Where a progressive as opposed to flat rate structure applies, the top marginal rate is shown. As in other OECD countries, the corporate tax system continues to favour debt over equity Hanappi, , even though measures were introduced in to limit the benefits of interest payments deductions. These deductions can also be used by multinational enterprises in their profit-shifting strategies to locate debt in higher-tax rate jurisdictions Sorbe, Johansson and Bieltvedt Skeie, Removing entirely the tax bias in favour of debt would rebalance financing incentives, while reducing corporate leverage and enhancing resilience.

The property tax system has room for improvement Policies promoting residential mobility would reduce skills mismatch with positive effects on productivity and employment Adalet McGowan and Andrews, Elevated transaction fees can also create incentives to purchase undeveloped land to build a new house rather than an existing building in a more central area to lower the tax burden, aggravating urban sprawl.

Lowering registration fees for real estate transactions and reforming recurrent taxes on immovable property see below , which are less distortionary would therefore be welcome. Replacing the tax break on capital gains from the sale of immovable property by an inflation correction based on consumer prices could also foster residential mobility. The authorities plan to compensate the repeal of the housing tax by reallocating other local direct taxes and by increasing central government transfers. The housing tax amounted to EUR Cadastral values are adjusted uniformly each year — based on consumer price inflation — regardless of spatial variation in property prices so that property values used for taxation purposes differ markedly from market prices.

A revised property tax based on updated cadastral values would also make up for some of the loss in revenues from the housing tax repeal. Phasing-in this reform. Illustrating the effects of OECD-recommended reforms The proposed tax and spending reforms give the government a choice of options to reduce public spending in the medium run.

This is quantified in an illustrative manner in Table Table Note: The estimated changes in the fiscal balance are static estimates that abstract from behavioural responses that could be induced from policy changes. These estimates are only reported for illustrative purposes. The public-spending-to-GDP ratio of The outcomes of the broad-based spending review are scaled using the proposals of the Action Publique committee related to health care improved balance of EUR 5 bn , housing improved balance of EUR 3 bn , mutualisation of purchases of goods and services by public entities improved balance of EUR 3bn , central administration and local government reforms improved balance of EUR 1 bn each.

Source: OECD calculations. The Climate Plan is a welcome step in that respect Table Yet, progress with lowering the energy intensity of production and raising the share of renewable energy has been modest in recent years panels B, C. On current trends, France will not reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Policies to support investment in energy efficiency and renewables have room for improvement see Chapter 2.

Air quality has improved and population exposure to small particles is lower than in most OECD countries panel D. Urban sprawl has contributed to an increase in car dependency and traffic congestion. Policies to limit urban sprawl, discussed above, would help contain pollution, energy consumption and CO2 emissions, with positive effects on biodiversity OECD, a.

Better taking into account environmental externalities in transport taxation and developing an efficient pricing of road infrastructure, combined with targeted social support measures, would make it possible to reduce environmental externalities. Combined with measures to tackle congestion and develop public transport, such as congestion charges, this approach would make significant progress in reducing air pollution.

A more even taxation of fossil energy use would improve the effectiveness of the pricing of carbon emissions in terms of emission reduction. Natural gas and coal are taxed less, in terms of carbon content, than petrol, in the manufacturing and construction sectors OECD, f. However, there remain many exemptions and scope for base broadening.

How environmental tax revenues are used has a substantial impact on their acceptance OECD, b. In particular, the use of revenues could help offset the negative real income and distributional effects of higher taxes on fossil fuels Douenne, ; Simon and Thao Khamsing, For example, OECD evidence on heating fuels shows that using a third of the revenues of environmental taxes on domestic energy to raise income-tested cash transfers for low-income households would improve energy affordability Flues and van Dender, The planned discussion about the revenues of environmental taxes and their use during the yearly budgetary debate from is a good move, since it could lead to define future flanking measures along with the planned increases of environmental taxes Peyrol and Bureau, France could make more use of economic incentives to avoid waste and recycle more.

The volume of household waste remains large, while its recovery rate remains lower than in Germany and Belgium panel E.

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Landfill taxes are lower than in other European highincome countries European Environment Agency, , and France has no mandatory separate collection of biowaste. Moreover, France is one of the main consumers of pesticides, which creates risks for the environment and biodiversity OECD, a. Incorporating environmental impact assessment into all agricultural product authorisation procedures at national and European level would lead to environmental and public health gains.

This involves strengthening the risk assessment of phytosanitary products, in particular those of their interaction effects, and to increase the consideration of their impact on the functioning of ecosystems in socioeconomic evaluations. Contributing to European research would enable gradually replacing the substances identified as the most harmful. Adopt and implement the national plan for the reduction of atmospheric pollutants to ensure that standards for the protection of human health are respected; promote the creation of restricted traffic zones and trial the use of urban road tolls.

Strengthen measures to raise awareness and provide information on waste prevention and recycling; step up the pace of implementation of incentive pricing. Agricultural inputs. Continue to increase the diffuse pollution charge and introduce a similar charge for mineral nitrogen fertilisers; assess the results of the savings certificates scheme for plant protection products.

Step up the pace of reform of energy and vehicle taxation for better internalisation of damage related to climate change and air pollution. Add quantified objectives, indicators and financing perspectives to the National Biodiversity Strategy. Promote agroecology with information, training, research and financing to facilitate the transition to sustainable modes of production. Summary of actions taken since the Survey The national plan for the reduction of atmospheric pollutants was adopted in Incentive pricing remains little used.

The diffuse pollution charge is increasing in The trajectory of the carbon tax hike was steepened in , but the increase in the carbon tax has paused in The biodiversity plan announced in aims at a net zero land take, and set up a 4-year financing perspective to support biodiversity. The biodiversity plan unveiled a series of measures to promote agroecology. Effective tax rates are calculated including the carbon emissions from biomass. Improving productivity, employment and social mobility Product and services market reforms would boost growth Complementary product- and service-market reforms will generate synergies and boost competitiveness and long-run growth.

However, many services sectors are partly sheltered from competition, and business regulations remain complex. The distributions of management quality and firms size are skewed A. Index scale from 1 worst practice to 5 best practice , manufacturing sector. Young firms are those less than 2 years old conditional on survival ; average of available years. After , the reallocation of labour and capital towards the most productive firms slowed markedly Libert, ; Figure Even though factor reallocation towards firms whose productivity has increased remained dynamic Ben Hassine, , reforms of labour and product markets and housing regulations would enhance competition, skills matches and productivity Figure Resource misallocation has increased, while investment disappoints A.

Loss in multi factor productivity that can be imputed to misallocation of resources, as computed in Libert Gross fixed capital formation as a percentage of gross value added, by industry. Source: T. Housing and labour market reforms also hold significant potential to ease reallocation of workers and firms Chapter 1. Past simplification schemes have insufficiently eased the regulatory burden Lambert and Boulard, In particular, the regulatory framework lags more transparent and competitive regulatory alternatives in services Figure This setting weighs particularly on SMEs and potential exporters, in goods and services sectors, as larger firms are better equipped to succeed in complex regulatory environments and benefits of economies of scale to absorb overhead costs Rouzet, Benz and Spinelli, More effective stakeholder engagement in the development of primary laws and subordinate regulations could help raise the effectiveness of regulations.

Easing unduly restrictive regulations would also increase competition and stimulate innovation. Multiple regulatory and tax thresholds may still be a barrier to firm growth, as small firms may shy away from growing beyond them.

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Studies estimate the cost of such regulations at between 0. Despite significant recent measures to smooth some of these thresholds included in the PACTE bill Table 12 , the new regulatory environment has tended to concentrate them on 11 and 50 employees and new labour-law regulations introduced differentiated treatments by firm size.

Estimated labour productivity gains from policy reforms reducing skill mismatch Per cent increase in the level of labour productivity associated with aligning policies to best practice 5. Estimates are based on: i logit regressions of probability of mismatch controlling for age, marital and migrant status, gender, education, firm size, contract type, a dummy for working full-time and working in the private sector; and ii OLS regressions of labour productivity on skill mismatch. In France, about 1. Service trade barriers remain important in some key sectors Services Trade Restrictiveness Index, Overall service trade restrictiveness index Index scale from 0 to 1 most restrictive regulations 0.

Most of the measures recorded as barriers to competition and issues related to regulatory transparency apply equally to domestic and foreign firms. The Law on Consumer Affairs, the Law on growth, activity and equal economic opportunity and the PACTE bill currently in legislative process have tried to strike a better balance between consumer protection and competition. However, for notary, architectural, accountancy, real estate and legal services, barriers to entry and controls on practice in France remained among the highest in the OECD Figure 32 suggesting that it should be possible to reach a better balance between quality control, integrity and competition.

For example, the regulatory framework of accounting services limits the. Product market regulations remain stringent in some sectors, A. Overall regulations. Involvement in Simplification and Admin. Entry regulation refers to the regulation of new entrants in the profession.

Conduct regulation refers to the regulation of the conduct of existing professionals. More generally, a further opening of the capital of selected professions would ease new entry and allow economies of scale and scope. Pharmacies continue to retain a monopoly on the sale of basic drugs and are subject to strict restrictions on ownership and size, capital, distribution chains, and on-line sales.

Continuing the efforts to prevent corruption Continuing efforts to fight corruption is important. Corruption can distort competition, damage the business climate and divert the use of public resources from the public interest, as well as foster a sense of mistrust towards public institutions. Perception of corruption risks B. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. In recent years, France implemented significant reforms to contain the risks of corruption. It also imposed the creation of corruption prevention programmes for businesses and created the French Anti-Corruption Agency AFA to support them.

There is room to improve the knowledge of anticorruption mechanisms within small local governments AFA, , and thereby to further professionalise public procurement processes at the local level Chapter 2. This also holds for innovation output, particularly among SMEs, the quality of scientific publications and scienceindustry collaboration OECD, i; Figure Unweighted average across 30 countries with available data. In parallel, a new innovation council was set up in to provide guidance on innovation policies, including a review of existing measures with an objective of simplification.

Despite this significant progress, numerous measures could still improve innovation support. Young an innovative firms enjoy a good access to bank financing and a rapidly increasing venture capital market Banque de France, c; OECD, k. Leveraging the potential of cryptoassets to finance innovative business investment Blockchain technology can potentially provide large benefits for the settlement of securities, international payments, and trade finance Landau and Genais, Given the lack of EU regulation, the French authorities are in the process of finalizing a legal framework related to the primary issuers of initial coin offering, ICOs, Box 3 and secondary i.

As technology evolves fast, there is a need to periodically review the legislation framework as foreseen in the PACTE bill.

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Moreover, to address the risks of regulatory competition, promoting an EU-wide approach to cryptoasset regulation appears warranted. Box 3. Initial coin offering. ICOs allow start-ups to issue their own coins also called tokens to raise funding through blockchain technology and without an intermediary.

Payment tokens often called cryptocurrencies are mostly used for payments. Unlike official currencies, they are not backed by a central bank. Security tokens are similar to an initial public offering but only on a blockchain. Utility tokens represent a new form of funding: they offer the owner different future services or products in exchange for a payment e.

In the first half of , ICOs amounted to roughly 5 percent of equity capital raised by French firms, and 68 issuers were conducting or planning to conduct an ICO in France as of November Le Moign, The AMF should be transparent about its methodology for granting visa for utility tokens and provide comprehensive data about tokens that apply for a visa to attract investors. Evaluating the need to apply EU securities regulation for utility tokens would be welcome.

However, utility tokens are typically used as investment products. They are issued by start-ups to raise funding and are afterwards traded on specialized cryptoasset exchanges. Since their future value is highly uncertain, they give rise to risks that are very similar to risks on other capital markets in terms of investor protection and market abuse ESMA, Continue to streamline burdensome permit procedures for large new stores. Eliminate restrictions on loss-leader selling, dates of discount sales and opening hours for which time-off and salary compensation should be negotiated. Ensure non-discriminatory access to the rail network.

In particular, modernise the process of allocating service slots for rail freight, and separate the rail infrastructure manager from the station manager. Pool regulatory powers for the various modes of transport under a single land transport regulator. Obtain an independent assessment of the impact on competition of laws and regulations, and increase dialogue on this subject between the competition authority and the Ministry for the Economy during the decision-making process.

By contrast, sale periods have been restricted. The PACTE currently in legislative process aims to simplify firm entry requirements and reduce entry barriers in craft occupations. Quotas are to be eliminated for doctors. The reform reorganised the railway sector to open up the passenger-transport sector to competition. The law of 9 December strengthened the anti-corruption framework. A new body, the French Anticorruption Agency, was set up in to identify and prevent corruption.

Strengthening skills through initial education The labour market is continuing to shift towards higher-skilled employment Figure This reflects that over the past decades, the service sector has expanded and industry has moved from heavy industries to higher value added production that links into global value chains, leading to an increase in medium and high technological intensive manufacturing, although manufacturing accounts for a rapidly decreasing part of employment.

These changes are taking place as firms increasingly search for skilled workers. Thus, to sustain growth it is becoming increasingly important to adjust and enhance skills, improve allocation of labour and mobilise all underutilised labour resources Chapter 1.

France does not strike the right balance in spending per pupil across education levels to best address inequalities in educational outcomes. Relative to the OECD average, spending per student is comparable to this average in tertiary education, above for upper secondary education OECD, l , but below for pre-primary and primary education levels Figure There is also extensive evidence that teachers are more inexperienced, more often on temporary contracts, and that staff turnover is stronger for schools in poor neighbourhoods CNESCO, That is, legislators, senior officials, and managers group 1 , professionals group 2 , and technicians and associate professionals group 3.

Middle-skill occupations include jobs classified under the ISCO major groups 4, 7, and 8. That is, clerks group 4 , craft and related trades workers group 7 , and plant and machine operators and assemblers group 8. Low-skill occupations include jobs classified under the ISCO major groups 5 and 9. That is, service workers and shop and market sales workers group 5 , and elementary occupations group 9. The ISCO major group 6 for skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers is excluded.

Yet, the number of teachers per child is low in pre-primary education in international comparison 23 children per teacher — 8 children more than the OECD average , even though assistants in pre-primary schools intervene along with teachers. One of the challenges for improving the quality of pre-primary education is to improve the initial training of assistants in pre-primary education. As early educational interventions for disadvantaged children are more efficient relative to interventions taking place at later stages OECD, m , the authorities could consider increasing staff at the pre-primary education level in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Going forward, beyond a reduction in class sizes in poor neighbourhoods, efforts should also concentrate on professionaldevelopment policies to attract and develop high-quality educators and teachers where the challenges are the greatest. Past OECD recommendations to improve learning outcomes of disadvantaged children Main OECD recommendations Offer attractive salaries and career prospects to teachers in schools with many pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Promote an innovative range of different practices in teacher training in order to meet the different needs of pupils. Publish both budgets and underlying formulae. Better target public spending at transportation, childcare services and face-to-face public services in poor neighbourhoods.

Summary of actions taken since the Survey The annual salary bonus for staff in priority school networks is increasing by euros in steps. The class size in grade 1 and grade 2 in priority primary education school networks is being halved to 12 pupils. Given the overrepresentation of children from privileged backgrounds in these courses OECD, b , measures e.

Moreover, less than half of students complete their undergraduate studies licence in three years.