The Federal Planning Bureau mainly carries out two types of macroeconomic analyses:
The analysis of the effects of different types of exogenous shocks, whatever they are: mainly external shocks (oil shock, shock on the external markets, on the cost of imports) but also internal shocks (especially technological shocks). In the case of external shocks, the macroeconomic analysis is particularly useful in diagnosing the possible effects of the observed shocks, such as an energy shock or a shock on world growth.
The analysis of the effects of economic policy measures, such as a government programme to increase expenditure, to reduce taxes or social security contributions (employees’ and/or employers’), etc.
The macroeconomic assessment of a shock allows a grasp of its direct and indirect effects on the economy (through the effects on revenues and relative prices).
Such an assessment also opens up the possibility of determining the impact of a shock on the main macroeconomic indicators such as growth, unemployment, public finances or external trade, as well as on the sectoral indicators (value added, employment, operating surplus, etc. per industry branch). The model used for the medium-term analyses also allows study of the effects of shocks on energy demand and on greenhouse gas emissions.
In order to carry out these macroeconomic analyses, the FPB has developed a methodology that is based mainly on econometric models and, more particularly, on the HERMES model, which breaks down the economy into 16 branches of production (for more details, see Working Paper 11-00 and Planning Paper 97; see also ‘Sectoral and intersectoral analyses’ for a more detailed sectoral approach to the Belgian economy).