Seeking partners for adequate measuring of the economy

/ Author: Miriam van der Sangen
© Hollandse Hoogte / Marc van der Stelt - MS Fotografie
In view of all kinds of developments, such as globalisation, digitisation and the shift towards services, measurement of the Dutch economy requires additional attention. It is for this reason that Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has introduced a new research programme entitled 'Adequate measuring of the economy'. CBS researcher Maarten van Rossum is one of the initiators and tells us about the programme.

Globalisation and digitisation

Over the last few decades, quantification of new economic developments has not become any easier, partly on account of globalisation, digitisation and a growing services sector. One example are the multinationals who play an increasingly larger role in the international economy with their sister companies or subsidiaries, often spread out across the world. The associated shifts of capital and internal ‘transfer pricing’ do affect the figures of the Dutch economy in that respect. The strong rise of online shopping in recent years, the arrival of all kinds of online platforms and the wide range of 'free' digital services such as apps have all had an impact.


Van Rossum: 'All these new economic developments prompted us and colleagues from other departments to think about how to analyse this even better and more in conjunction with each other. CBS does have a lot of knowledge in this area, but this expertise may be spread throughout the organisation. The logical conclusion was to intensify internal collaboration and at the same time look at how other organisations deal with this and how we could collaborate with them in that respect.'

Investing in new knowledge and methods

In view of the above-mentioned developments, CBS has set up the programme ’Adequate measuring of the economy’ in order to invest in new knowledge, methods and partnerships so that it can continue to analyse the economy adequately in the future. Van Rossum: 'We conduct feasibility studies for a number of themes that are also set out in the 2019-2023 Multi-annual Programme of CBS. We aim to tie in with measuring issues that have been identified across the world. CBS is looking for external partners for these feasibility studies.'

Feasibility studies

CBS has meanwhile launched a study into the export of digital services and it is analysing the earnings of the property sector. 'We also want to find out if it is useful to study the extent and effects of robotisation and the scope of cross-border R&D flows.' According to Van Rossum, CBS is looking for expert internal and external colleagues in order to develop and carry out the feasibility studies. 'We're looking for inquisitive, innovative people who are not afraid to look beyond borders and who are excellent team members.'


CBS is not the only statistical institute to study new economic phenomena. Other statistical institutes have been doing so for some time now. 'The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the United Kingdom, for instance, has set up an Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE), which has resources available for research and where experts share their knowledge of all kinds of economic developments and the measuring thereof. CBS will also be looking into new ideas in that respect. We are also in contact with the OECD and Eurostat about the digital economy and the platform economy in particular.'

For adequate measuring of the economy, CBS is looking to join forces with ministries, universities and other knowledge institutes, among others. It would like to share expertise with them in this area or tap into new data sources in order to keep economic indicators measurable and relevant in the future. If you are interested in a collaboration with CBS in this field, please contact Maarten van Rossum by sending an email to