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Economy


  • 8-July-2021

    English

    The return on human (STEM) capital in Belgium

    Whilst overall productivity growth is stalling, firms at the frontier are still able to capture the benefits of the newest technologies and business practices. This paper uses linked employer-employee data covering all Belgian firms over a period of almost 20 years and investigates the differences in human capital between highly productive firms and less productive firms. We find a clear positive correlation between the share of high-skilled and STEM workers in a firm's workforce and its productivity. We obtain elasticities of 0.20 to 0.70 for a firm's productivity as a function of the share of high-skilled workers. For STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) workers, of all skill levels, we find elasticities of 0.20 to 0.45. More importantly, the elasticity of STEM workers is increasing over time, whereas the elasticity of high-skilled workers is decreasing. This is possibly linked with the increasing number of tertiary education graduates and at the same time increased difficulties in filling STEM-related vacancies. Specifically, for high-skilled STEM workers in the manufacturing sector, the productivity gain can be as much as 4 times higher than the gain from hiring additional high-skilled non-STEM workers. To ensure that government efforts to increase the adoption of the latest technologies and business practices within firms lead to sustainable productivity gains, such actions should be accompanied by measures to increase the supply and mobility of human (STEM) capital. Without a proper supply of skills, firms will not be able to reap the full benefits of the digital revolution.
  • 18-May-2021

    English

    Policy brief on e-learning and digital business diagnostic tools for entrepreneurs

    This policy brief discusses recent international policy experiences in developing e-learning and digital business diagnostic tools for entrepreneurs. E-learning tools can develop entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competences among users and increase their confidence and success in business creation. Business diagnostic tools offer entrepreneurs ways to assess their business management practices against peer companies or good practices, building competence and diffusing good practice. This brief sets out considerations for the successful development and implementation of these tools. It presents eight international cases of tools and discusses the public policy lessons from these international experiences.
  • 17-November-2020

    English

    The impact of COVID-19 on SME financing - A special edition of the OECD Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs Scoreboard

    The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on SME access to finance. In particular, the sudden drop in revenues created acute liquidity shortages, threatening the survival of many viable businesses. The report documents an increase in demand for bank lending in the first half of 2020, and a steady supply of credit thanks to government interventions. On the other hand, other sources of finance declined, in particular early-stage equity. This paper, a special edition of Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs, focuses on the impacts of COVID-19 on SME access to finance, along with government policy responses. It reveals that the pre-crisis financing environment was broadly favourable for SMEs and entrepreneurs, who benefited from low interest rates, loose credit standards and an increasingly diverse offer of financing instruments. It documents the unprecedented scope and scale of the policy responses undertaken by governments world-wide, and details their key characteristics, and outlines the principal issues and policy challenges for the next phases of the pandemic, such as the over-indebtedness of SMEs and the need to continue to foster a diverse range of financing instruments for SMEs.
  • 14-April-2020

    English

    Synthesising good practices in fiscal federalism - Key recommendations from 15 years of country surveys

    The design of intergovernmental fiscal relations can help to ensure that tax and spending powers are assigned in a way to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Decentralisation can enable sub-central governments to provide better public services for households and firms, while it can also make intergovernmental frameworks more complex, harming equity. The challenges of fiscal federalism are multi-faceted and involve difficult trade-offs. This synthesis paper consolidates much of the OECD’s work on fiscal federalism over the past 15 years, with a particular focus on OECD Economic Surveys. The paper identifies a range of good practices on the design of country policies and institutions related strengthening fiscal capacity delineating responsibilities across evels of government and improving intergovernmental co-ordination.
  • 20-March-2020

    English

    Addressing labour market challenges in Belgium

    Job creation has lowered unemployment, but the Belgian labour market still faces many challenges. Employment rates remain low, reflecting barriers to finding a job such as low levels of skills and weak work incentives. In addition, the changing nature of work will require faster adaptation of workers. In order to address these challenges, this chapter presents a detailed analysis of policy priorities, drawing notably on insights from the OECD Jobs Strategy. One priority should be that each worker has access to lifelong training, with additional allowances targeted to disadvantaged workers. To improve transitions into work, the use of tools for the profiling of individualised risks should be extended. A better combination of income support and incentives could be achieved through reforming both unemployment and in-work benefits. Reforming some aspects of employment protection legislation, such as those related to collective dismissals, and the wage formation system, would boost flexibility. This Working Paper relates to the 2020 OECD Economic Survey of Belgium http://www.oecd.org/economy/belgium-economic-snapshot/.
  • 3-February-2020

    English

    Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

    Belgium’s tax, labour, pension and education reforms have improved the potential for stronger, sustainable and inclusive growth over the long term. Keeping up this momentum on structural reforms is key to energise the economy and keep it resilient to external risks and uncertainties, according to a new OECD report.

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  • 3-February-2020

    English

    Launch of the 2020 Belgium Economic Survey

    It is a great pleasure to be back in Brussels to present the 2020 Economic Survey of Belgium. I would like to thank Prime Minister Wilmès for hosting us today and for the support that Belgium has shown during the preparation of this Survey.

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  • 31-January-2020

    English

    Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, in Brussels on 3 February 2020

    The Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr. Angel Gurría, will be in Brussels on 3 February 2020 to present the 2020 OECD Economic Survey of Belgium, alongside Ms. Sophie Wilmès, Prime Minister of Belgium.

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  • 8-July-2019

    English

    In-Depth Productivity Review of Belgium

    Belgium has a high level of productivity. However, growth of productivity has declined quite strongly over the past two decades, and more so than in other advanced economies. This is a worrying development, as fewer productivity gains mean less wage growth and a slowdown in improvements to pensions, health care and well-being. This In-Depth Productivity Review of Belgium assesses in detail the drivers of productivity and recommends a 7-Point Action Plan to reignite productivity growth in Belgium. Reviving productivity growth requires action in many areas cutting across governments and ministerial competences. Measures are needed to instil more dynamism in Belgium’s economy, both among businesses and in the labour market, and to make the public finances more growth-oriented. In addition to recommending detailed policy measures to revive productivity growth, the Review contains three analytical chapters that lay out the evidence base: Chapter 1 on economy-wide and sectoral trends in productivity; Chapter 2 on the role of firms for productivity, with a focus on the dispersion of performance among businesses; and Chapter 3 on the worker dimension of productivity, with a focus on the role of wage bargaining and skills.
  • 19-December-2017

    English

    Raising and mobilising skills to boost productivity and inclusiveness in Belgium

    A highly educated and skilled workforce has been an important driver of productivity performance and prosperity in Belgium.

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