Sector and Market Monitoring
One of the FPS Economy's main tasks, the supervision of goods and service markets, requires a good understanding of these market, as well as reliable knowledge of all their components.
This knowledge allows the Belgian Government to identify solutions and to allocate appropriate resources and instruments when markets are no longer working optimally.
Structured market ans sectoral monitoring is the first step towards developing this policy (evidence-based policymaking).
Supervision is carried out primarily through a 'top-down' approach, which consists of systematically analysing information in the public domain. It is important to identify signs of a trend in a certain sector or market quickly and in a structured manner, on the basis of indicators such as value-added, employment, productivity, price, innovation, barriers to effective competition, concentration, and the composition of the sectors.
Monitoring should be based on sound knowledge of analysis methods and should be supported by incontrovertible data.
In the medium term, this screening phase will be partially automated. Using a signal indicator, industry analysts should receive very rapid alerts via an electronic tool when something atypical occurs in an industry.
All sectors are subject to ongoing surveillance, which is the responsibility of analysts from the specialist unit within the FPS Economy: the Sector and Market Monitoring Department.
This supervision is not an end in itself, but offers a good foundation for pursuing the majority of the FPS Economy’s strategic priorities:
- for the ‘competition’ priority
to identify which markets are not competitive (based on information on pricing, concentration, business lifetime etc.) and whether the intervention of the competition authorities is required;
- for the ‘regulations’ priority
to act on the initiatives agreed upon, and to correct measures;
- for the ‘innovation’ priority
to effectively use the tools of the FPS Economy (intellectual property, standardisation, metrology, public procurement, telecommunications) and to identify key sectors (aviation, construction, energy efficiency, the digital economy)
- for the ‘external competitiveness’ priority
to better understand, evaluate and interpret key sectors and the needs of the Belgian society on the international stage (trade policy instruments).
A 'bottom-up' approach is also essential for ensuring proper monitoring of these sectors. Direct contacts in the field (professional federations and associations) are indispensable because they provide the micro-information that needs to be gathered, structured and developed in order to understand the trends that emerge from the 'top-down' analyses.
The information that experts from various directorates gather in the course of their work and through contacts with their partners should be rolled out using the same 'bottom-up' approach to the FPS Economy and should be available for the monitoring of the market sectors.
For the FPS Economy's priority 'Committee for pricing analysis', the department provides the expertise and analytical work to enable this committee to advise the Federal Government. More specifically, this means that the sector and markets supervision department will focus on analysis and monitoring the pricing and the cost structures of the sectors and markets.
An AGORA-research project, labeled "Monitoring of Markets and Sectors" has been set up, in collaboration with the Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel and the KULeuven and with the financial support from the federal Science Policy department. The project was implemented between September 2009 and July 2011. Through this project a number of individual and composite indicators on the functioning of markets and sectors have been developed (on NACE 2-, 3- and 4-digits level).