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Has the crisis altered the Belgian economy’s DNA ?

Emmanuel Dhyne () and C. Duprez
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C. Duprez: National Bank of Belgium

Economic Review, 2015, issue ii, 31-43

Abstract: Using a unique and original database which combines information on the organisation of the domestic production network with data from segments of international production chains, the research work described in the article aims to present some new findings on how the Belgian economy works. One of the first points to emerge is that Belgian firms have a lot of mutual trading links. Compared to other economies, the Belgian economy seems to exhibit a relatively high degree of fragmentation of production. In addition, via trading links with import or export firms, the majority of Belgian firms are integrated – albeit indirectly – into global production chains. The question of the economy’s external competitiveness is therefore not confined to exporters alone, but extends to a very large number of firms active in a wide variety of branches of activity. In general, belonging to a fragmented production chain seems to be beneficial. Belgian firms which specialise in specific segments of the production chain fared better, and especially those active at the end of the production chain. During the economic and financial crisis, however, specialisation was actually a risk factor for firms, especially for those involved in the early stages of production. Overall, since the crisis, the trading links established by firms in the network have not made up for the links lost. It is therefore more crucial than ever to create new businesses in order to regenerate the domestic production network.

Keywords: production organisation; fragmentation; global value chains; upstreamness; downstreamness; efficiency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F61 L23 L24 L25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2015:m:september:i:ii:p:31-43