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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.

Documents (16)


  • Multinational groups in Belgium – Structure and economic activity 31/05/2022

    A macro-economic analysis of the activity of multinational groups is of particular interest for economic policy in a country like Belgium with a longstanding tradition of openness to foreign investment. This working paper combines a database of enterprise groups that are active in Belgium with industry-level data from the national accounts to show that multinational groups play an important role in the Belgian economy. Together, foreign affiliates and firms that are part of a Belgian multinational group account for more than 40% of GDP, 25% of total employment and 75% of exports.

    Planning & Working Papers - WP 05-22  Publication(fr),




  • Belgium’s Carbon Footprint - Calculations based on a national accounts consistent global multi-regional input-output table 28/09/2017

    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.

    Planning & Working Papers - Working Paper 10-17  Publication(en),


  • Is offshoring driven by air emissions? Testing the pollution haven effect for imports of intermediates 11/10/2013

    Over the last couple of decades, trade liberalisation has progressed and environmental regulations have become more stringent, in particular regarding emissions of air pollution. This has raised the fear in developed countries that emission-intensive activities are increasingly carried out abroad. This paper develops an approach for testing whether emission-intensive industries have greater shares of imported intermediate materials. The test is applied to the Belgian manufacturing sector for the years 1995-2007. Emissions of three types of air pollutants are analysed: greenhouse gases, acidifying gases and tropospheric precursor gases. The results provide evidence that industries with a high intensity in acidifying gas emissions  (SO2, NOX and NH3) tend to import a greater share of intermediate materials. This is likely to be linked to the stricter enforcement of regulations for air quality, which act upon acidifying gases. There is no such evidence in the results for emissions of tropospheric precursor gases and in particular of greenhouse gases. Regarding the latter, despite stringent regulations, enforcement appears to be less strict.

    Planning & Working Papers - Working Paper 12-13  Publication(en),

  • Does Offshoring Contribute to Reducing Air Emissions? Evidence from Belgian Manufacturing 24/05/2013

    Since the mid-90’s, production-related air emissions in Belgian manufacturing have been reduced substantially and it can be shown that the pace of the reduction has been fastest for domestic intermediates. It is widely debated whether offshoring has played a role in this reduction by replacing domestic intermediates by imported intermediates. This paper develops a decomposition analysis to measure the contribution of offshoring – the share of  imported intermediates in total intermediates – to the fall in air emission intensities for domestic intermediates. This decomposition analysis reveals that 27% of the fall in the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of the fall in the intensity of acidifying emissions and 20% of the fall in the intensity of tropospheric precursor emissions in Belgian manufacturing between 1995 and 2007 can be attributed to offshoring.

    Planning & Working Papers - Working Paper 05-13  Publication(en),


  • Documents presented at the Workshop "Economic analyses of the environment in Belgium, the Regions and Europe" 13/09/2012

    • 001_F  : Intensité en énergie et en émissions des activités économiques en Belgique - Lies Janssen - Bureau fédéral du Plan
    • 001_N : Energie- en emissie-intensiteit van economische activiteiten in België - Lies Janssen - Federaal Planbureau
    • 002_N : Decompositie van CO2-emissies door Belgische producenten - Guy Vandille - Federaal Planbureau
    • 002_F : Décomposition des émissions de CO2 des producteurs belges - Guy Vandille - Bureau fédéral du Plan
    • 003_N : Emissielekken in België - Guy Vandille - Federaal Planbureau
    • 003_F : Fuites d’émissions en Belgique - Guy Vandille - Bureau fédéral du Plan
    • 004_F : Analyse des flux de matières en Wallonie - Isabelle BUCCELLA - SPW & Marco ORSINI - ICEDD
    • 005_N : Analyses op basis van het Vlaams milieu-input-outputmodel - Koen Smeets - OVAM
    • 006_E : Environmental-economic accounts in the European Union: results and analytical applications - Stephan Moll - Eurostat

    Speeches & presentations - ESA_2012_01  006_E(en), 001_F(fr), 002_F(fr), 003_F(fr), 004_F(fr), 001_N(nl), 002_N(nl), 003_N(nl), 005_N(nl),

  • Short Term Update 01-12 : Special Topic - Decomposition analysis of changes in CO2 emissions by the Belgian industries 16/03/2012

    Headlines Belgian economy

    Since the start of 2012, tensions in money and bond markets have receded somewhat in most euro countries. Together with the recent uptick in most confidence indicators, this is expected to lead to a bottoming out of European GDP. Assuming the sovereign debt crisis does not intensify again, economic activity should gradually pick up in the second half of the year. Nonetheless, on a yearly basis, this implies negative euro area GDP growth of -0.3%, which is a substantial downward revision as compared to our September forecasts (1.2%). This scenario remains highly uncertain, with renewed turmoil in financial markets as the main risk.

    Belgian economic growth amounted to 1.9% in 2011, although economic activity fell slightly during the second semester. In 2012, quarterly growth should remain very modest against the background of a gradual pick-up in the European business cycle and of the austerity measures already taken by the Belgian government. Economic activity ought to stabilize in 2012Q1, followed by a slight export-led upturn (up to qoq growth of 0.2% in 2012Q4). Economic growth should remain limited to 0.1% on a yearly basis.

    Due to the lack of dynamism in the business cycle, job creation has stagnated since mid-2011 and should only slightly recover in the course of this year, leading to an average annual increase of 6 400 units in 2012. As a result, the harmonised unemployment rate (Eurostat definition) should rise from 7.2% in 2011 to 7.5% in 2012.

    Our most recent inflation forecasts were finalised at the end of February. Belgian inflation, as measured by the yoy growth rate of the national consumer price index, should amount to 3.0% on average this year. This upward revision (compared to our 2.7% forecast at the end of January) is largely due to price increases for energy products as a result of higher oil prices.

    STU 1-12 was finalised on 16 March 2012.

    Short Term Update - Short Term Update 01-12  Publication(en),


  • Qualitative Employment Multipliers for the Belgian Environmental Industry 14/12/2009

    The present paper computes cumulative employment generated by the Belgian environmental industry. Relying on Belgian input-output tables for the year 2000 and on detailed employment data (SAM sub-matrix), we investigate the patterns of the employment in the environmental industry, by considering the worker types differentiated by gender, educational attainment or a combination of these characteristics. The employment multiplier analysis of environmental employment reveals some interesting differences between employment of the overall economy and environmental employment for the level of education as well as for the gender type.

    Planning & Working Papers - Working Paper 13-09  Publication(en),


  • Quantifying environmental leakage for Belgium 30/10/2008

    This paper illustrates the deficiency of the production approach as a tool to measure a country’s responsibility for international environmental impacts. A use approach is presented as a more suitable tool. The difference between the two approaches is determined by a better grasp of international trade, which can lead to environmental leakage when a country specialises in the production of environmentally friendly products and has the environmentally unfriendly products which it consumes produced abroad. We show that in the period 1995-2002 Belgium was on average a provider of air emission intensive products for the rest of the world. Environmental leakage was mostly negative. However, the evolution of the Belgian environmental terms of trade shows that by 2002 its imports had become considerably more air emission intensive with respect to its exports than in 1995. There are indications that this evolution is due to a considerable increase of extra-EU imports of air emission intensive products. This in turn could point to environmentally inspired offshoring. However, the currently available data do not allow us to test this hypothesis.

    Planning & Working Papers - Working Paper 19-08  Publication(en),


  • STU 02-06 : Special Topic - Decomposition analysis of changes in CO2 emissions by the Belgian industries 19/05/2006


    The medium-term outlook for Belgium points towards an average GDP growth rate of 2.2% during the 2006-2011 period, which is slightly higher than potential (2.0%). This pace of growth should follow a slowdown in economic growth in 2005 (1.5%) and a rebound in 2006 (2.4%). Economic growth in Belgium should remain slightly higher than in the euro area, on average.

    Despite moderate wage increases, the average yearly growth rate for private consumption should reach 1.8% during the 2006-2011 period, in particular because of the increase in household disposable income (stimulated especially by reductions in personal income tax and increases in employment and social benefits). Investment growth should reach 2.5% during the 2006-2011 period, mainly reflecting the path of business investment growth, but also an acceleration in public investment at the end of the projection period. Growth in exports should be 5.4% on average and the contribution of net exports to GDP growth is expected to be 0.3%-points. The external surplus, which was strongly reduced between 2002 and 2005, should increase again after 2007 and attain 3.2% of GDP in 2011 (partly as a result of the improvement of the terms of trade). Limited increases in wage costs, the decline in oil prices after 2007 and a negative output gap until the end of the projection period, should allow the inflation rate to remain below 2% in the medium term.

    The expected evolution of employment reflects a favourable macroeconomic context, a limited increase in wage costs and various policy measures. After the net creation of approximately 39,000 and 41,000 jobs in 2005 and 2006 respectively, about 35,000 jobs should be created every year during the 2007-2011 period. Between 2005 and 2011, industrial employment should fall by 30,000 persons, but the number of jobs created in market services should exceed 250,000. Nevertheless, in view of the strong increase in the labour force (mainly in the 50-64 age class) the fall in unemployment will be limited to 38,000 persons. The unemployment rate (broad administrative statistics) should fall from 14.3% in 2005 to 13.1% in 2011.

    Under the assumption of constant policy, public accounts are expected to deteriorate markedly, with a net public financing requirement of 0.3% of GDP appearing in 2006, widening to 1.2% in 2007, before gradually falling to 0.3% by the end of the projection period. Nevertheless, the total public debt to GDP ratio is still expected to decline from 93.9% in 2005 to 78.0% in 2011.

    Short Term Update - Short Term Update 02-06  Publication(en),




  • STU 02-02 : Special Topic - Sectoral air pollution and eco-efficiency in Belgium 12/06/2002

    During recent months it has become clear that the turning point in the business cycle has been passed both in the US and in the euro area. Attention has shifted since then to the question of how strong the recovery will be and what will be the forces driving it. A substantial improvement in the labour market situation is now the missing link to ensure a seamless transition from a more technical inventories-led upturn to a broader demand-led recovery and to avoid the risk of a double dip scenario, both in the US and in the euro area. As the labour market situation reacts to economic activity with a certain time lag, it is crucial that the business cycle upturn should remain sufficiently strong to persuade entrepreneurs to increase their staff.

    According to the FPB’s leading indicator, the Belgian GDP cycle should only begin to climb in the second half of 2002. As a result, GDP should record an average annual increase this year which is almost identical to last year, i.e. 1.0%. Its composition and dynamics should, however, be quite different. The economic upturn should only have a positive impact on employment by the end of the year. The full positive impact of the economic recovery will become visible in 2003, with an expected GDP growth rate of 3.0%. In April 2002, national consumer price inflation fell below 2% (yoy) and it should stay below that level on average in 2002 and 2003.

    Short Term Update - Short Term Update 02-02  Publication(en),

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