CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) does scientific research aimed at contributing to the economic decision-making process of politicians and policymakers.
Besides economic forecasting, widely known CPB publications include its analyses of the election manifestos of political parties and societal cost-benefit analyses of infrastructural plans. Besides these, CPB does quantitative and qualitative analysis in a large number of issue areas. Read about this: ‘CPB and Dutch fiscal policy in view of the financial crisis and ageing’.
Projecting and forecasting
The output for which CPB is best known includes its quarterly economic forecasts of the development of the Dutch economy. The main forecasts are the Central Economic Plan (CEP), published every spring, and the Macro Economic Outlook (MEV), which is published jointly with the Annual Budget at the Opening of the Parliamentary Year in September.
Both forecasts provide a basis for extended social-economic decision-making in the Netherlands. Short updates are published in June and December. Such frequency is requisite, because contrary to what many people believe, this concerns projections and forecasts, not hard predictions. At the date of publication, they provide the best insights available, given scientific progress at that time. It must be realised that Dutch economic development depends on many, constantly changing factors—many of which are determined at the international level. Read about this: ‘CPB and Dutch fiscal policy in view of the financial crisis and ageing’.
Economic Policy Analysis
CPB analyses policy proposals in a number of different ways and also evaluates the effects of policy measures that have already been implemented. Since the early 1950s, the bureau analyses the costs and benefits of large infrastructural projects. These studies are known in Dutch by the acronym MKBA (Societal Cost Benefits Analysis). Examples include the Delta plan, the construction of the East Flevoland polder and the Betuwelijn freight railway.
CPB also conducts research into a numerous other areas—for example, the economic effects of ageing, globalisation, health care, education, the financial crisis, or the regulation of market orders. Such work is sometimes co-financed externally—in particular, by Dutch ministries or the European Commission.
Elections and government formation
A special forecast is the Medium-Term Forecast, which is published at the start of each election cycle. This forecast differs from the above-mentioned CPB forecasts by covering a four-year period. It offers a foundation for the development of policy plans by political parties and the negotiations for a new government after the general elections.
From 1986 onwards, CPB has offered interested political parties an analysis of the economic effects of the policy proposals in their election manifestos. The plans of the participating parties are analysed identically, thus offering voters a comprehensive tool for comparison of the parties, contributing to the transparency of the election process.
After the elections, CPB is often requested to analyse all or some of the policy proposals put forward during the negotiations for a new government. These analyses use the same methods as those used during the analysis of the election manifestos.