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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), (in French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, OCDE) is an international organisation of those developed countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and a free market economy. It originated in 1948 as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), led by Frenchman Robert Marjolin, to help administer the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Later its membership was extended to non-European states, and in 1961 it was reformed into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Objectives and action

One of a number of posters created by the Economic Cooperation Administration to promote the Marshall Plan in Europe.

The organization provides a setting where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and co-ordinate domestic and international policies. The mandate of the OECD is very broad, as it covers all economic, environmental and social issues.

It is a forum where peer pressure can act as a powerful incentive to improve policy and implement “soft law” — non-binding instruments that can occasionally lead to binding treaties.

Exchanges between OECD governments flow from information and analysis provided by a secretariat in Paris. The secretariat collects data, monitors trends, and analyzes and forecasts economic developments. It also researches social changes or evolving patterns in trade, environment, agriculture, technology, taxation and other areas. The OECD is also known as a premium statistical agency, as it publishes highly-comparable statistics on a very wide number of subjects.

Over the past decade, the OECD has tackled a range of economic, social, and environmental issues while further deepening its engagement with business, trade unions and other representatives of civil society. Negotiations at the OECD on taxation and transfer pricing, for example, have paved the way for bilateral tax treaties around the world.

Among other areas, the OECD has taken a role in co-ordinating international action on corruption and bribery, creating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which came into effect in February 1999.

The OECD has also constituted a task force on spam[1], which submitted a detailed report, with several quite useful background papers on spam problems in developing countries, best practices for ISPs and email marketers etc appended.

The OECD's headquarters are at the Château de la Muette in Paris.


OECD bodies

The OECD's structure revolves around 3 major bodies.

  • The OECD member countries, each represented by a delegation led by an ambassador. Together, they form the council.
  • The OECD Secretariat, led by the Secretary-General (currently Angel Gurria). The Secretariat is organized in directorates. There are some 2,500 agents in the OECD Secretariat.
  • The OECD committees, one for each work area of the OECD. Committee members are subject-matter experts from member and non-member countries. The committees commission all the work on each theme (publications, task forces, conferences, and so on). The committee members then relay the conclusions to their capitals.

OECD Secretariat

The OECD Secretariat is organized in Directorates:

Autonomous entities linked with the OECD


Representatives of the 30 OECD member countries meet in specialised committees to advance ideas and review progress in specific policy areas, such as economics, trade, science, employment, education or financial markets.

There are about 200 committees, working groups and expert groups. Some 40 000 senior officials from national administrations go to OECD committee meetings each year to request, review and contribute to work undertaken by the OECD secretariat. Once they return home, they have online access to documents and can exchange information through a special network.


OECD member states (as of 2007)

There are currently thirty full members; of these, 24 (marked with *) are described as high-income countries by the World Bank in 2005.

Founding members (1961):
Joined later (listed chronologically with year of admission):

The European Commission participates in the work of the OECD, alongside the EU Member States. For more information on OECD's work related to its member countries, visit OECD's country Web sites[2]

Relations with non-members and enlargement

Currently, 25 non-members participate as regular observers or full participants in OECD Committees. About 50 non-members are engaged in OECD working parties, schemes or programmes. The OECD conducts a policy dialogue and capacity building activities with non-members (Country Programmes, Regional Approaches and Global Forums) to share best policy practices and to bear on OECD's policy debate. The CCNM (Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members) develops and oversees the strategic orientations of the OECD’s global relations with non-members.

Several countries have applied for the OECD membership. The Russian Federation did so in 1996. In the same year, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania made a joint declaration concerning their co-operation with the OECD, including their future membership in the Organisation. Other countries have formally applied or stated their interest.

On 16 May 2007, the OECD Ministerial Council decided to open accession discussions with Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia. It was also decided to strengthen OECD’s cooperation with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, through a process of enhanced engagement or as full members.[3]. The OECD will also explore the possibilities for enhanced co-operation with selected countries and regions of strategic interest to the OECD, giving priority to South East Asia with a view to identifying countries for possible membership.

OECD publishing

The OECD publishes books, statistics, working papers and reference materials.

OECD books

The OECD releases between 300 and 500 books each year. Most books are published in English and French. The OECD flagship titles include:

  • The OECD Economic Outlook, published twice a year. It contains forecast and analysis of the economic situation of the OECD member countries.
  • The Main Economic Indicators, published monthly. It contains a large selection of timely statistical indicators.
  • The OECD Factbook, published yearly. The Factbook contains more than 100 economic, environmental and social indicators, each presented with a clear definition, tables and graphs. It is freely accessible online.
  • OECD in Figures, published yearly. A pocket-sized book full of the latest OECD statistics.
  • OECD Observer, an award-winning magazine with six issues a year. News, analysis, commentaries and data on global economic, social and environmental challenges. Contains book reviews and special section listing the latest OECD books, plus ordering information.
  • The OECD Communications Outlook and OECD Information Technology Outlook, which rotate every year. They contain forecasts and analysis of the communications and information technology industries in OECD member countries and non-member economies.

All OECD books are available on SourceOECD and on the OECD online bookshop.

OECD Statistics

All OECD activities are backed-up by statistics, and given the variety of OECD activities, it is a very good source of comparable statistics. OECD statistics are available under several forms:

  • As interactive databases on SourceOECD,
  • As static files or dynamic database views on the OECD Statistics portal,
  • and as StatLinks. In most OECD books, there is a url below every table and graph, which links to the underlying data.

OECD Working Papers

There are 15 working papers series published by the various directorates of the OECD Secretariat. They are available on SourceOECD as well as on many specialised portals. Fiducia

OECD Reference works

The OECD is also responsible for the Model Tax Convention or the OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, two continually-updated documents which are de facto standards.

OECD List of Unco-operative Tax Havens

The OECD periodically releases an amended 'blacklist' of countries it considers uncooperative in the drive for transparency of tax affairs and the effective exchange of information, officially called "The List of Unco-operative Tax Havens".

March 2004 OECD Blacklist: Andorra, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Monaco

April 2002 OECD Blacklist: Andorra, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Vanuatu

June 2000 OECD Blacklist: Anguilla, Andorra, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gibraltar, Granada, Guernsey/Sark/Alderney, Isle of Man, Jersey, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montserrat, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, Niue, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Seychelles, Tonga, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa

Personnel policy

As an international organisation the terms of employment of OECD staff are not governed by the laws of the country in which their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard the organisation's impartiality with regard to the host and member countries. Hiring and firing practices, working hours and environment, holiday time, pension plans, health insurance and life insurance, salaries, expatriation benefits and general conditions of employment are managed according to rules and regulations proper to the OECD. In order to maintain similar working conditions to similarly-structured organisations, the OECD participates as an independent organisation in the system of co-ordinated European organisations, whose other members include NATO, the Western European Union and the European Patent Office.

See also

External links