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Social security microsimulation model

Research project AG/FF/086 (Research action AG)


Persons :


Description :

1. Name of the Institution

Ministry of Social Affairs, Public Health and the Environment
Information and Studies Administration


2. Description of the project

- In Belgium, there is no publicly available computing model with which the distribution implications of reforms in the social security and/or fiscal systems can be calculated.

- The necessary data for such a computing model are administratively available, albeit not in a single integrated file.

- The objective of this project is twofold:

Firstly, we wish to explore to what degree micro-information on incomes from different administrative sources can be combined. We are thinking here in the first place of the gross incomes from RSZ files and the incomes on the basis of which personal taxation is determined. This by no means excludes the possibility that other sources can be validly used: the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) and the Budget Survey of the National Institute for Statistics are two of the most obvious possibilities for this. These various files might be linked to one another with the aid of the statistical linking techniques developed within the framework of the OSTC project AG/01/030.

Secondly, we wish to construct a publicly available microsimulation model that on the household level calculates the social security contributions and benefits and the fiscal implications thereof. By expressing the link between policy and disposable income of the families in policy parameters, changes in the social and fiscal policy can be simulated and evaluated on the micro-level. The model will contain an evaluation module which presents the distribution implications of policy changes according to the most recent state of scientific methodology in the area.

3. Missions to be performed

A By the research team

- Description of the data needs for the computing model (types of incomes, number of hours work, differences in observation units).
- Construction of a single integrated administrative file for anonymised observation units.
- Programming of publicly available source code in the form of various modules: social contributions, social transfers, personal taxation.
- Description of the source code in a manual which allows external parties to adapt the data and the accompanying source code for their own use.

B By the institution

- Opening up of various administrative income databases.
- Contacts with the different competent administrative institutions.
- Implementation of drawing procedures, proposed by the researchers, in order to obtain a representative random sample.

4. Final product

A To be delivered by the research team

- A description of the file that is made available by the institution.
- Readable source code which makes it possible to calculate, for each observation unit in the file, the social security contributions, benefits and the fiscal implications thereof.
- A manual which allows external parties to understand and manipulate the source code for their own computational exercises.

B By the institution

- An integrated file with both gross incomes and data which make it possible to calculate the disposable income.

5. Valorisation of the final product

A For the institution

- Possess a flexible and scientifically-sound instrument with which the policy can prepared and evaluated. Production of characteristic values relating to the distribution of family incomes, which make it possible to compare Belgium with other countries.

B For the public

- Make available a database with anonymised administrative microdata and a model with which, for these data, the path from gross to net income can be followed


7. Special conditions

It must be possible to use the model in a mobile environment, so that data entry from various sources is possible. It must be possible to open up several administrative databases. In a later phase of the project, one can also consider, subject to approval of the Ministry of Finance, integrating all personal taxation elements into the microsimulation model.


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