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Competition is a complex and hard-to-measure phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is a central concept in the economy and should be adjusted in the event that its course appears to be problematic. This study aims at grasping the intensity and the evolution of competition in Belgium in relation to other EU Member States and is based on eight benchmarks, each of which measures one specific feature of competition. Approximately half of those benchmarks have evolved favourably over the past decade. That was also the case for other member states, as a result of which Belgium’s relative position in terms of competition did not improve. For Belgium, two crucial benchmarks displayed an unfavourable evolution: prices, which strongly increased with regard to other Member States, and, in their wake, price/cost margins.
The aim of this paper is to describe product market competition in the Belgian economy for the period 1997-2004 and to illustrate some causality with market regulation. The analysis is held at the industry level, for selected manufacturing and services industries. Emphasis is given to the profit elasticity (PE) measurement of competition (the "Boone" indicator) and the average profitability (AP) indicator (an approximation of the mark-up indicator). We applied the OECD Regimpact indicator as a proxy for regulation. We present some stylized facts, for Belgium in comparison with selected EU countries; and through an econometric exercise we illustrate the potential of regulation as an explanatory variable for competition.
In the empirical literature, the missing link between ict investments and increa-ses in firm performance is organisational change. This paper aims to assess the impact of ict at firm-level in Belgium, by means of case studies with 220 firms in four sectors: banking, machinery, printing/publishing and transport. The chosen sectors were ict-intensive in 1995, have enjoyed productivity growth during the 1995-2000 period and were probably ready for reorganisation at the time of the interviews.