What does CPB do?

CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis strives to be the leading economic research institute in the Netherlands and, thus, also be a leading institute on an international level.

Each year, we determine the focus of our research projects for that year. We conduct economic scientific research by carrying out analyses and projections, in order to support decision-making by policymakers and politicians. At their request, we also analyse election manifestos of political parties and conduct analyses for others, such as trade unions and employers’ organisations. 

Economic policy analysis
Globalisation, education, population ageing, health care, the functioning of financial markets, competition and market regulation in telecommunication are examples of CPB’s many possible research themes. Analyses may also concern policy proposals and the effects of current policy. From as early as the 1950s, CPB has been conducting cost-benefit analyses for large projects, such as the CBAs of the Delta Works, the Eastern Flevoland land reclamation and the Betuweroute freight railway line.

Projections and predictions
CPB publishes 4 projections, annually, about both Dutch and global economic development. The 2 most important projections are the Central Economic Plan (CEP), which is published in the spring, and the Macro Economic Outlook (MEV), published each year on Prinsjesdag (the Day of the King’s Speech). The other 2 are shorter and adjusted projections, published in June and December.

CPB’s projections form the official foundation for the government budget. The Advisory Division of the Dutch Council of State monitors and supervises compliance with European budgetary regulations. CPB and the Dutch Council of State have drafted an agreement stating their individual roles and collaboration.

Projections represent the best available insights at a particular point in time—but they certainly are not carved in stone. Many different and continually changing factors have an impact on the economy, both on national and international levels. More information on this subject is provided in the CPB Document Forecasting in times of crisis. CPB forecasts during the great recession (in Dutch, May 2010).

General elections and formation
A medium-term outlook is published at the start of each general election cycle. It covers a four-year period. The outlook provides a basis for political decision-making by political parties and during the coalition-agreement negotiations following the elections.

Since 1986, CPB has been analysing the impacts of the election manifestos of the political parties, at their request. This provides voters with a more objective comparison of party programmes. The most recent edition in this series is Charted Choices 2018–2021, published in February 2017. 

On request, once the general elections have been held, CPB analyses the policy proposals that are drafted during the government coalition formation process, and those that are to be included in the coalition agreement. The most recent analysis was that of the Coalition Agreement of October 2017. 

National Productivity Board
There is a decline in productivity growth in the OECD countries and structural growth is slowing down in the Netherlands too. This has prompted the European Commission to propose setting up a National Productivity Board in every euro country. The EU Council of Ministers has taken up this proposal. An NPB is an organization that investigates the productivity of a country and publishes about it. The Cabinet designated the CPB as NPB in April 2017. The bureau has a special position in this, because it is often seen as an example within the EU. Read more about the CPB-theme Productivity.