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Making Reforms Happen

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Practice Advice on Socioeconomic and Political Context

Making Reforms Happen (OECD)

Description: Introducing and implementing reforms is complex and involves a wide range of general political economy and more country-specific considerations.   

Commentary:  The OECD, having examined the political economy of reforms in 20 country-specific case studies in 10 OCED countries, has identified the following basic principles for intoducing and implementing reforms:

  • Governments must have an electoral mandate for reform. Major reforms succeed only if they generate visible results. Immediate visible results may be problematic to achieve, given that structural reforms require time to achieve real impact.
  • Governments must communicate effectively in order to persuade votes and stakeholders about the need for reform and inform them about the costs of not reforming.
  • Policy should be evidence based and analytically sound, in order to enhahnce the prospects of reform adoption. Reforms need to be backed by analyses conducted by authoritative, non-partisan institutions.
  • Governments introducing the reform must be united around the policy, as any divisions will be exploited by the opposition.
  • Reforms can be facilitated by consultations with stakeholder groups (unions, business groups, etc). Although governments should welcome public scrutiny, firmness on the necessity of the policy change is also essential for the reform to succeed.
  • Governments must be persistent, and blocked, reversed or very limited early reforms should not be seen as failures. Reformers must emphasize the unsustainability of the status quo and push for reforms against all odds. 

Source: OECD (2011), "Economic Policy Reforms", OECD, Going for Growth 2011 Report at: (accessed 3 January 2013).

Page Created By: Khilola B. Zakhidova on 3 January 2013. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases. This material does not necessarily reflect the official view of the publishing organization.

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