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To promote transparency and provide information, the Federal Planning Bureau regularly publishes the methods and results of its works. The publications are organised in different series, such as Outlooks, Working Papers and Planning Papers. Some reports can be consulted here, along with the Short Term Update newsletters that were published until 2015. You can search our publications by theme, publication type, author and year.
Whereas regional subsidies and some tax incentives appear to encourage firms to increase their investment in R&D activities, some incentives provided through corporate income taxation seem to have no additionality effect or even result in the crowding out of firms’ own R&D expenditures. As these incentives claim the lion’s share of the rapidly rising budgetary cost of public support to business R&D, the efficiency of tax incentives for R&D activities could be increased by introducing a cap on the total amount of public support that companies can receive, as also suggested by an international study.
Reports - REP_12721 (en),
A new evaluation of public support to R&D in Belgium shows that regional subsidies and the federal partial exemption from payment of the withholding tax for researchers may have helped to increase R&D expenditure in Belgium. The results are less positive for some benefits granted by the federal government through corporate income taxation. As these tax benefits account for the lion's share of the rapidly increasing budgetary costs of public support for R&D, the efficiency of public support could be increased.
Articles - Article 014 (fr), (nl),
Closed series - Planning paper 118 (fr), (nl),
What sustains labour productivity growth in Belgium? The EUKLEMS database of the Federal Planning Bureau provides an answer to this question.
Fact Sheets - Fact Sheet 006 (en), (fr), (nl),
Capital stock, available in the national accounts, provides information on the value at a given time of the assets accumulated in the economy. It is composed of different fixed assets and comes from the investment made by the different economic agents.
Articles - Article 011 (en), (fr), (nl),
This paper considers the evolution in business dynamism and its potential link with productivity growth in Belgium. Statistics on business creation, the exit of enterprises and within-industry reallocation are presented. Data on Belgian firms, covering the period 2003-2017, are used for a decomposition of productivity growth. The paper provides robust indications of the substantial contribution of productivity growth of start-ups in the early years after entry.
Working Papers - Working Paper 05-21 (en),
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan details the use of the €5.925 billion allocated under the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The major part (88%) of the Belgian plan is directly intended to increase the capital stock of the Belgian economy through public investment and aid to private investment. In the short term, at the peak of the plan's stimulus effect, economic activity would be 0.2% higher than in the non-plan scenario. Although the stimulus is temporary, it has long-term effects due to the increase in the public capital stock and the support for R&D activities that improve the profitability of the capital stock of firms and encourage its accumulation. By 2040, GDP is still projected to be 0.1% above non-plan growth path. This estimate does not take into account the reform component of the plan, nor the broader recovery, investment and reform plans announced by the Regions and the federal government, nor the effect of foreign plans on the Belgian economy.
Reports - REP 12401 (en), (fr), (nl),
Has the production process of the industries that do the most R&D in Belgium changed over the last 10 years? This analysis attempts to answer this question using both sectoral and company data.
Working Papers - Working Paper 07-20 (fr), (nl),
This paper presents an estimation of employment sustained directly and indirectly by exports based on an export-heterogeneous input-output table. In this table, manufacturing industries are disaggregated according to the exporter status of firms in order to account for within-industry differences in input structures. According to our results, export-sustained employment in Belgium amounted to 1.32 million jobs in 2010, which corresponds to 29.5 % of total employment.
Working Papers - Working Paper 11-19 (fr),
This Working Paper analyses the competitive position of the pharmaceutical industry over the 2000-2017 period. The evolution of price/cost competitiveness and non-cost competitiveness is studied based on a comparison with our neighbouring countries France, the Netherlands and Germany, and with Denmark, Ireland, Slovenia and Switzerland. The study also analyses a series of global factors and factors specific to the pharmaceutical industry that may influence competitiveness.
Working Papers - Working Paper 05-19 (fr),
Belgium has committed to raise investment in research and development (R&D) to 3% of GDP by 2020. In fulfilment of this commitment, the federal government introduced different tax incentives in support of business R&D. This paper presents the results of the third evaluation of the efficiency of these tax incentives, covering the period 2003-2015.
Working Papers - Working Paper 04-19 (en),
For a finer analysis of competitiveness and value chain integration, this working paper presents a micro-data based breakdown of manufacturing industries in the 2010 Belgian supply-and-use and input-output tables into export-oriented and domestic market firms. The former are defined as those firms that export at least 25% of their turnover. Analyses based on the resulting export-heterogeneous IOT reveal differences between the two in terms of input structures and import behaviour: export-oriented manufacturers have lower value-added in output shares, and they import proportionally more of the intermediates they use. Moreover, exports of export-oriented manufacturers generate a substantial amount of value added in other Belgian firms, in particular providers of services. The policy implication of these results is that Belgium’s external competitiveness depends not only on exporters but also on firms that mainly serve the domestic market. To maximise the impact of export promotion in terms of domestically generated value added, the entire value chain for the production of exports must be taken into account.
Working Papers - Working Paper 11-18 (en),
This working paper analyses the economic impact of a regulated professional services reform in Belgium through simulations based on the European Commission’s DSGE model QUEST III R&D
Working Papers - Working Paper 09-18 (en),
At the request of the Ministerial Council and in collaboration with the Agency for Administrative Simplification (AAS), the Federal Planning Bureau carries out an estimate every two years of the administrative burdens for firms and self-employed in Belgium. This estimate is based on a survey of a representative sample of firms and self-employed. In addition to the quantitative part, the survey also includes an important qualitative part that shows how firms and self-employed view the problem of administrative burdens. This Planning Paper shows the results regarding the administrative burdens for 2016.
Closed series - Planning paper 116 (fr), (nl),
Articles - Article 20171121
The objective of the report is to provide an overview of the main drivers of economic growth and the productivity evolution in Belgium, in comparison with its three neighbouring countries and the US over 1970 and 2015. Recent evolutions, over 2000-2015, are analysed in details in order to shed light on the impact of the great recession. The growth accounting methodology is applied to explain labour productivity growth for the total economy, manufacturing and market services.
Working Papers - Working Paper 11-17 (en),
The traditional attribution of responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to producing countries may be distorted by international trade flows as importing emission-intensive commodities contributes to reducing a country’s production-based emissions. This has motivated the calculation of carbon footprints that measure the amount of domestic and foreign GHG emissions (directly and indirectly) embodied in commodities intended for final consumption by a country’s residents. In this
working paper, we present carbon footprint estimations for Belgium based on global multi-regional input-output (MRIO) tables that have been made consistent with detailed Belgian national accounts. According to our calculations, Belgium’s carbon footprint is substantially higher than its productionbased emissions, which means that Belgium is a net importer of GHG emissions. Moreover, our results show that consistency with detailed national accounts does matter for MRIO-based carbon footprint calculations, in particular for a small open economy like Belgium.
Working Papers - Working Paper 10-17 (en),
This paper proposes a new model to account for unobserved heterogeneity in empirical modelling. The model extends the well-known Finite Mixture (or Latent Class) Model by using the Johnson family of distributions for the component densities. Due to the great variety of distributional shapes that can be assumed by the Johnson family, the method does not impose the usual a priori assumptions regarding the type of densities that are mixed.
Working Papers - Working Paper 14-17 (en),
Belgian government investment, and specifically the part spent on infrastructure, is relatively low both in historical terms and compared to neighbouring countries. A simulation with the European Commission’s Quest III model suggests that increasing government investment permanently by 0.5% of GDP leads to a growth in GDP, private consumption and private investment. The impact of alternative financing mechanisms is compared. Finally, a budget neutral shift of investment in favour of infrastructure is found to yield significant benefits in terms of GDP and its main components already in the medium run.
Working Papers - Working Paper 01-17 (en), (en),
Recent studies reveal the importance of entrants and young firms for job creation, productivity and economic growth. Some scholars argue that the falling rate at which new firms are established, can explain, to a certain extent, the productivity slowdown witnessed in most OECD countries. Belgium appears to stand out unfavourably from other countries in its very low start-up rate. This paper reviews the empirical cross-country evidence, provides some additional analysis of the role of young firms in industry-level employment and productivity dynamics in Belgium and concludes with a discussion of the implications for economic policy.
Working Papers - Working Paper 06-16 (en),
Closed series - Planning paper 115 (fr), (nl),
In the context of the ongoing structural transformation of the economy (and a waning global productivity growth), policy makers and authorities in the most developed countries (among which is Belgium) increasingly focus on the digitisation of the economy as a mainspring for a transformation towards a knowledge- and innovation-driven economy. In this sense, the word ‘digitisation’ refers to all social, economic and societal evolutions that follow investments in ICT. As a “general purpose technology” ICT offers opportunities that surpass the pure ICT-industries, and may thus allow for serious heightening of prosperity and societal well-being. Besides the impact upon productivity, further digitisation may offer solutions for a number of complex societal challenges, such as demographic evolutions (ageing), the increasing demand for mobility, the transition towards the production of renewable energy…
Other publications - OPREP201511 (fr), (nl),
This study discusses the production and use of ICT in Belgium, and identifies its strengths and weaknesses in comparison with the neighbouring countries. It covers both ICT goods and services, noting that the production of services is almost seven times as high as the production of goods. In this study, the use of ICT is limited to their use as a production factor, but not as a consumption good. In the Belgian economy, ICT industries are characterized by their dynamism, with a high entry rate, a high labour productivity and a relatively strong profitability. Moreover, ICT services significantly contribute to foreign trade. ICT industries are closely linked with the Belgian economy. Compared to the neighbouring countries, however, ICT industries have a smaller share in the economy and a smaller share in the foreign trade of goods. Moreover, innovation in terms of patent applications is disappointing, and ICT capital has a relatively small and even diminishing contribution to economic growth. Within the Belgian ICT sector, telecommunications relatively stand out compared to the other ICT industries, with a relatively large share in the economy and services exports. They are the main user of ICT products, and can thus boost the development of ICT.
Working Papers - Working Paper 07-15 (nl),
The paper analyses the long-term trend of Belgian economic growth and the more recent evolution of labour productivity including the impact of the crisis. It identifies the causes of declining trend of productivity gains by analysing the structural changes in the economy and by applying the growth accounting methodology on industry-level data. Finally, possible policy actions are detailed which minimise the negative short term impact on aggregate demand while maximising the positive effect on labour productivity growth.
Working Papers - Working Paper 06-15 (en),
This paper presents the results of a second evaluation of the tax incentives that were introduced – between 2005 and 2008 – by the Belgian federal government to support R&D activities of private companies. Compared with the first assessment, carried out in 2012, this evaluation extends the period considered by two years (2010 and 2011) and provides the results of a first assessment of the tax credit for investment in R&D and the tax deduction of 80% of qualifying gross patent income that were introduced in 2007. The second evaluation also elaborates on the difficulties of estimation procedures to establish the "causal" effect of public support and the importance to account for the strong persistence in firm-level R&D expenditures.
Working Papers - Working Paper 05-15 (en),