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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.
This paper presents a model of Belgian household consumption, with a focus on private health expenditures. To do so, we have formulated and estimated an extension of the classic Almost Ideal Demand System. The original model has been modified by introducing a dynamic adjustment mechanism and by the inclusion of demographic variables. These were expected to capture shifts in consumption patterns related to the changing age composition of the population. The results confirm the expected effects: the ageing of the population is likely to increase the share of private health expenditures (and consumer durables) in the household budget over the coming decades.
The distinction between the young and the elderly within low and high wage earning employment in HERMES, the FPB's medium-term macroeconomic model, enables the assessment of both age and wage related labour cost reducing policies. The age structure of salaried employment in each branch of activity is embedded in a three-stage mechanism. First, aggregate demand and the relative cost of labour to capital determine salaried employment. Next, relative wages allocate employment among three major labour categories: low-paid jobs, high-paid jobs and special-employment programmes. Finally, within each labour category relative wages allocate employment between the young (aged less than fifty) and the elderly (aged fifty or more).
Every three years, each EU member state is required to set out its political priorities related to economic growth and job creation in a so-called National Reform Programme ( NRP ). Gauged by the latest medium-term economic outlook produced by the Federal Planning Bureau, compliance with the main macroeconomic objectives contained in the Belgian NRP will still require sizable efforts, especially regarding the labour market. Furthermore, our analysis shows that reducing social security contributions in order to lower the tax wedge on labour as foreseen in the NRP , is efficient in increasing the employment rate, especially when targeted at low wage earners, but also that such policies have a negative effect on the objectives related to public finances and CO 2 emissions.
In this paper, we use the nime model to assess the medium-term macro-economic effects for the European Union (eu) of a one percentage point cut in the social security contribution rate, and a one percentage point increase in the labour participation rate. In the case of a cut in the social security contribution rate, we consider two variants. First, we consider the variant in which the tax cut is ex ante financed by an across the board cut in public outlays. Next, we consider the variant in which the tax cut is ex ante financed by an increase in the indirect tax rates. In the long run, such measures increase unambiguously employment and potential output, thereby raising the standard of living of the eu citizens and reinforcing the sustainability of the social protection system. However, all kinds of rigidities prevent an immediate adjustment towards the new equilibrium, so that economic activity may be less buoyant in the medium-term. This paper describes these medium-term effects.