Organization for economic cooperation and development

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Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

German logo of the OECD

Member States of the OECD
  • 20 founding countries
  • 17 other Member States
  • English name Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
    French name Organization de coopération et de développement économiques
    Seat of the organs La Muette Castle ,
    Paris , FranceFranceFrance 
    Secretary General MexicoMexico José Ángel Gurría (since 2006)
    Member States 37 :

    Member States

    Official and working languages

    english and french

    population 1,257,114,000 (2013)
    Gross domestic product per inhabitant 38,865 US $ (2014)

    December 14, 1960
    (April 16, 1948 as OEEC)

    The headquarters are in La Muette Castle in Paris

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OWZE; English Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development , OECD ; French Organization de coopération et de développement économiques , OCDE ) is an international organization with 37 member states that are committed to democracy and a market economy. Most of the members belong to the countries with high per capita income and are considered to be developed countries. Headquarters of the Organization and its predecessor organization, the Organization for European Economic Cooperation ( english Organization for European Economic Cooperation OEEC is) since 1949 Château de la Muette in Paris .

    History and tasks

    OEEC (1948–1961)

    The Organization for European Economic Cooperation ( english Organization for European Economic Cooperation OEEC ) acted from 16 April 1948. The aim of the OEEC was to develop a common approach to economic reconstruction and Cooperation in Europe and implement. In particular, the European countries should be involved in the decision-making process on how to use the funds from the Marshall Plan.

    The OEEC can be seen as a continental planning commission established at the suggestion of the USA for the whole of Europe, which was designed according to the successful models of the New Deal in the USA. As with the reform commissions of the New Deal, the basic economic stance of the foundation was in the spirit of Keynesianism . The leadership should be in French hands with strong German involvement. In the first years of its existence, the OEEC had 20 members (18 European countries plus the USA and Canada).

    After the Marshall Plan aid had been completed, there was further need for an exchange on economic policy issues and the OEEC was transferred to the OECD in September 1961.

    OECD (1961 to today)

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was founded in 1961 as the successor organization to the OEEC and the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe . Today, the OECD sees itself as a forum in which governments share their experiences and work out solutions to common problems. As a rule, peer pressure is the most important incentive for implementing the recommendations made. Often standards and guidelines are developed within the framework of the OECD, and occasionally legally binding contracts. In the 1960s, Italy (1962), Japan (1964) and Finland (1969) joined the OECD, followed by Australia (1971) and New Zealand (1973). In the 1990s Mexico (1994), Czech Republic (1995), Hungary (1996), South Korea (1996) and Poland (1996) were added. Slovakia joined in 2000. Chile, Slovenia, Israel and Estonia followed in 2010, Latvia in 2016, Lithuania in 2018 and Colombia in 2020.

    According to the OECD Convention, the goals of the organization are

    • to contribute to optimal economic development, high employment and a rising standard of living in their member states,
    • promote economic growth in their Member States and developing countries,
    • to contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral basis.

    The analyzes and recommendations of the OECD on the economic policy of the member states are based on a liberal, market-based and efficient economic system. For the labor and product markets, the organization advocates dismantling barriers and more competition. Education policy and social policy have gained in importance in recent years. With the PISA studies , the OECD has made itself an advocate for equal opportunities in the education system. In a 2016 study, the organization pointed to an increase in poverty and inequality ( income gap ) in its member states.

    In international economic relations, the free movement of goods and capital are core goals of the organization. At the same time, standards were and are being developed within the framework of the OECD in order to counter the negative aspects of globalization . These include the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises as standards for direct investment and cooperation with suppliers, the OECD Convention against Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and standards for the prevention of money laundering and tax evasion .

    Structure and decision making

    The OECD is not a supranational (supranational) organization, but rather has the character of a permanent conference. The organization is strictly intergovernmental (intergovernmental).


    Upper Council

    The upper council is the highest decision-making body and is composed of one representative each from the member states and the European Commission . It meets regularly at ambassador level. A ministerial meeting is held at least once a year to determine the organization's work program. Resolutions are made by consensus . However, countries can abstain. If a country makes use of this option, it does not have to apply the recommendation in question.

    Secretary General

    The Secretary General presides over the Council when it meets at ambassadorial level. He is also responsible for the secretariat. He is appointed by agreement between the member states for a period of five years. The incumbent has been the former Mexican Finance and Foreign Minister José Ángel Gurría since June 2006 . The Secretary General is currently assisted by four Deputy Secretary General.

    Secretaries General of the OECD (until 1961 OEEC):


    The Secretariat implements the decisions of the Council, supports the committees and working groups in their work and prepares proposals for new activities. Of the approximately 2,500 employees, around 1,600 are experts, mostly economists, lawyers, natural or social scientists. The secretariat is divided into twelve content directorates and six central departments. Most of the staff work at the headquarters in Paris. Liaison offices exist in Berlin , Mexico City , Tokyo and Washington, DC

    Committees and working groups

    The organization's specialist work takes place in around 200 committees and working groups. Delegates from the ministries and authorities of the member states exchange ideas, discuss the work of the secretariat or provide their own contributions. Around 40,000 representatives from national administrations take part in such OECD working meetings every year. Representatives of non-members also take part as observers on many of these bodies.


    The organization is financed by contributions from the member states, i.e. ultimately from tax revenues. The central budget (2016: € 370 million) is borne by the members according to a contribution key that depends on economic strength. The United States was the largest contributor in 2016 at 20.93%, followed by Japan (10.79%) and Germany (7.52%). Switzerland contributes 2.0% and Austria 1.42% to the central budget. In addition, the Member States can finance additional projects through voluntary contributions. In this context, the costs for the PISA study are also borne.

    Cooperation with civil society

    There is an institutionalized exchange with representatives from business ( BIAC ) and employees ( TUAC ) via special advisory bodies . In addition, public hearings are held on individual projects and non-governmental organizations are involved in the work by various committees and working groups. The OECD forum , which takes place annually around the meeting of the Council of Ministers , is also intended to provide a regular exchange with civil society.

    Specialized agencies

    A number of specialized and subsidiary organizations with their own membership and their own supervisory and steering bodies belong to the OECD:

    Member States

    There are currently 37 members:

    • European UnionEuropean UnionThe European Commission takes part in the work of the OECD alongside the EU countries. Commission representatives are involved in the work of the organization in a number of ways. Although the Commission's status extends well beyond that of an observer, it has no voting rights and does not officially take part in the adoption of legislation in the OECD Council.
    • Trieste Free TerritoryTrieste Free Territory Free Territory of Trieste (Zone A) , a small buffer state in Europe, was a member of the predecessor organization OEEC until its dissolution in 1954.

    Expansion and relationships with non-members

  • Member States
  • Candidate countries
  • Partner for enhanced cooperation
  • In contrast to many other international organizations, membership in the OECD is not automatically open to all countries. After accession negotiations, the OECD members decide whether and under what conditions a country will be accepted.

    On May 16, 2007, the OECD invited Chile , Estonia , Israel , Russia and Slovenia to accession talks. In addition, an “enhanced cooperation with a view to possible membership” was agreed with the major emerging countries Brazil , People's Republic of China , India , Indonesia and South Africa , which is still ongoing today. A total of 109 countries (as of May 2020), including these five so-called key partners , are members of the various committees and working groups of the OECD. In addition, according to its own statements, the organization works closely with international organizations and institutions such as the ILO , the FAO and the IMF and takes part in meetings of the G20 countries at various levels.

    A dialogue between the G8 countries and the major emerging economies Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa has been taking place at the OECD since mid-2007. This Heiligendamm process was agreed at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm and is intended to contribute to an understanding between the major industrialized and emerging countries on the topics of investment, energy efficiency and climate protection, protection of intellectual property and development policy.

    On May 7, 2010, Chile became the first country in South America to join the OECD. Slovenia joined the organization on July 21, 2010, Israel on September 7, 2010, and Estonia on December 9, 2010, after the three countries were invited to join the organization on May 10, 2010.

    On July 1, 2016, Latvia became the 35th member state of the OECD and Lithuania followed on July 5, 2018 .

    Colombia joined the OECD on April 28, 2020 after almost seven years of accession negotiations. Talks with Costa Rica have been ongoing since April 2015, and the country was invited to join on May 15, 2020.

    The accession talks with Russia were temporarily suspended in March 2014. Furthermore, Argentina , Brazil , Bulgaria , Croatia , Peru and Romania have already expressed their interest in membership.

    working area

    The work of the OECD is very broad and, apart from defense policy, affects almost all areas of government action. The organization itself divides its activities into the seven categories of economy, society, innovation, finance, governance , sustainability and development. These categories are divided into a total of 26 sub-topics.

    retirement provision

    The organization analyzes and compares the pension systems of the member states. The model calculations on old-age pensions in relation to income during the employment phase, which appear every two years, are of central importance. On this basis and in view of the increase in precarious employment relationships and interrupted employment histories, the organization has repeatedly warned of the risk of old-age poverty in Germany.

    Employment policy

    The analyzes concentrate on the effective design of labor market policy. This is based, among other things, on statistics on labor force participation and indicators on the relationship between wages and wage replacement benefits. The annual OECD Employment Outlook gives an overview of the development of employment and summarizes current studies of the organization on labor market policy. Overall, the organization has made a significant change in course in labor market policy in recent years. In the mid-1990s, for example, a liberalization of the labor markets with a reduction in protection against dismissal, restriction of trade union power and a cut in unemployment benefits based on the Anglo-Saxon model was propagated. With the revised “Job Strategy” from 2006, the Anglo-Saxon and the Scandinavian model of labor market policy with little protection against dismissal now recognizes good protection against unemployment and active placement in the labor market as promising.


    The economic benefits of education for the individual and society as well as equal opportunities in the education system are in the foreground in educational policy work. In the annual publication Education at a Glance , the OECD publishes comparative statistics and indicators on the use of resources in the form of financial resources or staffing in national education systems and analyzes how education affects innovative strength and the labor market. With the PISA study , the organization has made a name for itself internationally in the measurement of performance data of 15-year-olds developed according to certain criteria. The PISA study is not a study of the performance of school systems, although this was perceived by the public. Similar studies to examine the level of competence of adults and university graduates are in progress or in preparation. In addition, the organization researches how management in schools and universities can be improved.

    Development cooperation

    A central part of the work in this area are statistics and reports on the development aid payments of the OECD countries in the Development Aid Committee (DAC). Annual reports are used to check whether official development assistance (ODA) is in line with the commitments made. In recent years, work on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness has seen an increase in analyzes on the more efficient use of development aid . The organization also reports regularly on economic developments in Africa and Latin America.

    Fight against corruption

    The OECD is one of the key international actors in the fight against corruption. In 1989 she founded an ad hoc working group , which presented a “Recommendation on Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions” in time for the establishment of the EC internal market (Maastricht 1993) and which was adopted by the OECD Council at ministerial level in 1994. This resulted in the OECD Convention against Bribery of Foreign Public Officials , signed in 1997 by all OECD countries (plus five others) and entered into force in 1999 , whereby, following the US example (FCPA 1977), bribery of foreign public officials is also a criminal offense in the country of origin of bribes and is pursued. In addition, the tax deductibility for bribery payments abroad, which until then had also applied in Germany in particular, was abolished (Section 4 (5) No. 10 EStG, in the version valid until March 19, 1999). In addition, the names (exclusively) of the foreign recipients remained confidential vis-à-vis the tax office in order to prevent possible criminal prosecution, possibly requested by foreign plaintiffs. At the same time, the organization supports member states and non-members in regional initiatives to reduce their susceptibility to corruption.


    Migration is analyzed from the point of view of the destination and the countries of origin. From the point of view of the destination countries, the focus is on the integration of migrants into the labor market and the social structure. From the point of view of the countries of origin, the economic consequences of migration, for example through remittances or the loss of skilled workers, are analyzed.


    The work in environmental protection should help to design and implement efficient and effective policies for overcoming environmental problems and for the sustainable management of natural resources. The organization prepares specific recommendations for improving environmental policy in country reports. In 2008 the OECD presented a comprehensive analysis of the major challenges in environmental policy.

    On the occasion of the OECD report “Climate and carbon: Aligning prices and policies” published at the beginning of October 2013, Secretary General Gurria spoke out in favor of making CO 2 pricing (e.g. through a CO 2 tax or emissions trading ) a cornerstone of international climate policy close. In order to achieve the two-degree target , CO 2 emissions from fossil energy generation would have to be reduced to zero by the second half of this century.


    In the area of ​​taxes and tax policy, the OECD helps the member states to adapt their tax systems to the conditions of the globalized economy. The organization publishes, among other things, statistics on tax revenue in the OECD countries as well as indicators on the tax burden on labor income. These are the basis for analyzes and recommendations for growth-promoting tax and fiscal policy. To coordinate cross-border taxation, the OECD is developing reference works such as the OECD model convention and the guidelines for transfer pricing . Standards for the international exchange of information in tax matters are intended to help curb cross-border tax evasion. In addition, the member states are working with the G20 in the so-called BEPS project (“Base Erosion and Profit Shifting”) to develop international standards against profit reduction and shifting by multinational companies.

    Responsible corporate governance

    The organization tries to establish responsible corporate governance with a series of standards. The OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance are the most important international standard on stock corporation and corporate law. The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises set standards for foreign investments and in relationships with suppliers.

    Economic policy

    The analyzes of economic policy are divided into business cycle and structural policy. Twice a year, the OECD publishes an economic forecast for all OECD countries and major emerging economies in its Economic Outlook. This forecast is supplemented by an interim assessment for the major economic areas and the G7 countries. In addition, comprehensive economic reports with concrete economic policy recommendations are drawn up every one and a half years for each OECD country and some non-members. These reports are part of the peer reviews customary in the OECD because the recommendations reflect the consensus of the member states.

    The country reports are regularly rejected by the unions of the countries concerned, especially with regard to labor market policy, because they do not take into account the special, historically evolved circumstances too unspecifically and are politically one-sided based on a neoliberal evaluation scheme.

    other topics

    Further topics of the organization are biotechnology, bureaucracy reduction, energy, health, trade, innovation, investments, agriculture, public administration, spatial development and competition policy.


    An essential part of the work of the OECD consists in the collection and processing of statistics and indicators as well as in the preparation of studies. The organization publishes around 300 titles per year. All databases and studies are made available in the “ OECD iLibrary ” online library .

    An overview of important structural data can be found in the annual “OECD Factbook”. Most of the data are now available via the (paid) platform OECD.Stat. A free selection is available with “OECD Stat Extracts”.

    See also


    • Richard Woodward: The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) . Routledge Chapman & Hall, London 2009, ISBN 0-415-37198-8 .

    Web links

    Commons : OECD  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

    Individual evidence

    1. a b The OECD in Facts and Figures 2015–2016. (PDF) Total population. In: OECD iLibrary . Retrieved March 26, 2018 . doi: 10.1787 / 23073764
    2. Anja Steinhauer: Duden - The dictionary of abbreviations . 6th edition. Bibliographisches Institut, 2014 ( limited preview in Google book search).
    3. The Château de la Muette. In: 2019, accessed December 30, 2019 (English, French).
    4. ^ OECD Organization for European Economic Co-operation
    6. ^ Yanis Varoufakis, Europe's crisis and America's economic future - And the weak suffer what they must ?, New York 2016, Nation Books
    8. German translation of the OECD Convention on the OECD website ( Memento of February 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
    9. OECD study Update Inequality in Income 2016 (PDF)
    10. OECD, in:
    12. Member Countries' Budget Contributions for 2016 - OECD. Retrieved March 30, 2017 .
    13. ^ List of OECD Member countries - Ratification of the Convention on the OECD .; accessed on May 4, 2020
    14. ^ Members.; accessed on March 26, 2018
    15. ^ The former membership of Trieste - History of the OEEC / OECD ( Memento of March 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
    16. OECD invites five countries to membership talks, offers enhanced engagement to other big players. OECD, accessed May 27, 2020 .
    17. a b c The OECD. OECD, accessed May 27, 2020 .
    18. On-Line Guide to OECD Intergovernmental Activity. Retrieved May 27, 2020 (English, French).
    19. G20. Retrieved May 27, 2020 (English).
    20. Chile's accession to the OECD. OECD, accessed May 27, 2020 .
    21. ^ Slovenia's accession to the OECD. OECD, accessed June 21, 2016 .
    22. ^ Israel's accession to the OECD. OECD, accessed June 21, 2016 .
    23. ^ Estonia's accession to the OECD. OECD, accessed June 21, 2016 .
    24. ^ Accession: OECD welcomes Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia. OECD, accessed May 27, 2020 .
    25. ^ Latvia's accession to the OECD .; accessed on July 21, 2016
    26. Lithuania's accession to the OECD .; Retrieved July 6, 2016
    27. Colombia's path towards OECD accession. Retrieved May 27, 2020 .
    28. OECD countries invite Costa Rica to join as 38th member. Retrieved May 27, 2020 .
    29. ^ OECD strengthens engagement with partner countries during the annual Ministerial Meeting .; Retrieved July 6, 2016
    30. Topic overview. OECD (English)
    31. OECD Study Pensions at a Glance. doi: 10.1787 / 23137649
    32. Pensions at a Glance 2017: OECD and G20 Indicators In: , accessed on March 27, 2018.
    33. ^ OECD Employment Outlook website
    34. ^ Job strategy "Boosting Jobs and Incomes: The OECD Jobs Strategy" on the OECD website ( Memento from March 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
    35. Compare your country - PISA 2015. Accessed March 30, 2017 .
    36. ^ Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
    37. Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO)
    38. ^ Development Assistance Committee (DAC). In: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 2019, accessed January 12, 2020 (English, French).
    39. Discussions in the ad hoc Working Group, established in 1989 and composed of all OECD Member countries, resulted in the development of the Recommendation on Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions, which was adopted at ministerial level by the OECD Council in 1994. (PDF )
    40. BT-Drs. 12/8468 Decision recommendation and report of the Finance Committee (7th Committee) 1994
    41. ^ Website on the OECD Migration Outlook . doi: 10.1787 / 1999124x .
    42. OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030 ( Memento of November 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). doi: 10.1787 / 9789264043329-de .
    43. Countries should make carbon pricing the cornerstone of climate policy, says OECD. OECD, October 9, 2013; Retrieved October 13, 2013.
    44. ^ Stanley Reed: OECD Head Calls for Global Effort Against Climate Change. In: The New York Times , October 9, 2013; Retrieved October 13, 2013.
    45. Website for the "OECD Revenue Statistics"
    46. Website for the OECD study "Taxing Wages"
    47. ^ Base erosion and profit shifting - OECD. Retrieved March 31, 2017 .
    48. ^ OECD Economic Outlook website
    49. Matecki criticizes the OECD report on Germany. DGB press release, PM 044, March 26th 2010. / OECD report: Appeal to the government: spare Luxembourg from the OECD structural reforms in the social sector! (PDF), communicated by the executive board of the OGBL on July 11, 2006.

    Coordinates: 48 ° 51 ′ 42.8 "  N , 2 ° 16 ′ 10.6"  E