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
Food prices in Belgium are higher and rise faster than in its neighbouring countries. This can be verified from Eurostat databases, and has been noticed as part of the European Semesters. During the past few years, the phenomenon of price differntials has been studied at the Belgian and the international level. From these studies can be deduced that the causes are manifold, but that there are also factors that work out favourably in Belgium. Four factors that seem to be outstanding in Belgium: the small economic-geographic scale in combination with the bilingualism, wholesale prices, labour cost and the strategy of certain store chains.
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.