Public finances

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Structurele determinanten van de publieke gezondheidszorguitgaven [20/10/2014]

This paper presents the models developed at the FPB to project public spending on curative care and long-term care in the medium and long term. The variables explaining curative care spending are income, the age composition of the population, the unemployment rate and technological and medical progress. This variable is approximated using two indicators, the number of new drug approvals (Farmanet data) and the approvals for non-pharmaceutical products (Food and Drug Administration data). With the exception of the latter, all drivers mentioned above increase the cost of curative care. As for long-term care spending, it is explained by income, the proportion of older people in the population and their life expectancy. Long-term care spending is positively impacted by income and ageing. Yet, due to the increase in life expectancy, the impact of ageing shifts gradually towards the oldest age group.

Monitoring of the Federal government's economic stimulus strategy - Progress report [22/07/2014]

The present document is the fourth biannual progress report in which the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) gives an account of the monitoring of the economic stimulus strategy announced by the Federal government in the summer of 2012. This progress report gives an overview of the measures to follow up and reviews the progress of their implementation (situation on June 30, 2014).

Macrosectoral impact analysis of a VAT increase [05/06/2014]

This study was commissioned by the Central Economic Council (CEC), and more particularly by the Special Advisory Commission ‘Construction’. It presents the sectoral results of a report that was produced in 2011 by the National Bank of Belgium and the Federal Planning Bureau. The federal government had asked both institutions to conduct a comprehensive study of a fiscal reform aiming at encouraging employment and supporting business competitiveness. As requested by the CEC, we comment here in detail the impact of a VAT increase without additional measures, on the one hand, and the impact of a VAT increase with transitional neutralization of the effect of that increase on the indexation. As regards the other measures examined, tables of results are annexed.

Monitoring of the Federal government's economic stimulus strategy - Progress report [21/02/2014]

The present document is the third biannual progress report in which the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) gives an account of the monitoring of the economic stimulus strategy announced by the Federal government in the summer of 2012.

This progress report gives an overview of the measures to follow up and reviews the progress of their implementation (situation on January 31, 2014). In addition, the report attempts to provide an analysis of those measures.

The 6th State Reform in Belgium: issues concerning fiscal sustainability [30/01/2014]

The state reform was elaborated at a moment when large fiscal consolidation measures were required to restore the long-term sustainability of Belgian public finances. The 2011 institutional agreement provided that the federated entities contribute, through the reform, to the fiscal consolidation. That contribution can be justified by the fact that the reform, by reducing the budgetary size of the federal level, decreases the federal level’s room for manoeuvre and its capacity to resolve on its own the sustainability issue. The magnitude of the contribution necessary to prevent the sustainability challenge from deteriorating is assessed and compared to the redistribution of the public deficit as organized by the reform. The assessment is made in a constant policy scenario and for different assumptions about the reform's life span. This study shows that the transfer of fiscal burden to the federated entities is, a priori, sufficient not to aggravate the sustainability problem considering the reduced size of the federal level’s budget. The federated entities have gained scale and powers but will have to contribute substantially to the efforts to restore fiscal sustainability.

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The Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) carries out various activities on the theme of public finances. The FPB produces medium- and long-term projections of the government’s accounts. It also studies and models the interactions between macroeconomic evolutions and public finances. Within the National Accounts Institute (NAI), the FPB assists in drawing up the government's account in the national accounting.

The FPB carries out various activities on the theme of public finances :

  • Within the National Accounts Institute (NAI), the FPB assists in drawing up the government's account in the national accounting. The integration of these accounts into the National Accounts allows the government's account to be compared with the accounts of the other macroeconomic actors (households, businesses, Rest of the World).
  • The FPB studies and models the interactions between macroeconomic evolutions and public finances. These models allow the impact of government decisions on the economy and the repercussions of the economic situation on the condition of public finances to be analysed. Public finance modelling is based on a detailed analysis of the budgets of the federal administration, social security and the Regions. It is also based on the study of the structure and evolution of public employment, compulsory taxes, institutional regulations for financial transfers between levels of government and determinants of public debt and interest charges.
  • The FPB draws up the "economic budget" (see the theme ‘Short-term forecasting and business cycle’). This provides the macro-economic short-term framework for drawing up and reviewing the budget by the competent authorities. It includes public finance elements which directly affect the economic parameters (public consumption, investments, indirect taxes, subsidies, etc.).
  • The FPB carries out detailed medium-term (5-year) forecasts of the evolution of public finances, on both the national and the regional level of government (see the theme ‘Forecasting and macroeconomic analysis in the medium term’).
  • The FPB carries out detailed medium-term (5-year) forecasts of the evolution of public finances for each Region within the framework of the HERMREG project. It does so in collaboration with the three regional institutions: SVR, BISA and IWEPS (see the theme ‘Forecasting and macroeconomic analysis in the medium term’).
  • The FPB explores very long-term possible evolutions of public finances. It also studies the issue of fiscal sustainability, both in the context of the European budgetary surveillance mechanisms and in connection with issues related to fiscal federalism (see the theme ‘Social protection, demography and forecasts’).

Methods and instruments

Apart from various databases, the following instruments are used:

  • The different "public finances" and "social security" modules of the macroeconomic models MODTRIM, HERMES and HERMREG;
  • The MALTESE modelling system - including the specific models it comprises - which allows the long-term evolutions of social expenditure to be simulated.

  Data

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