Capital Formation in Belgium, 1900–1995
Based on the analysis of more than 35,000 company balance sheets, annual series of gross private investment have been constructed for 15 different sectors in Belgium between 1900 and 1995. The resulting data clearly show that the level of gross investment in the Belgian economy, expressed as a percentage of national income, was generally much lower than during the post world war two period. An international comparison demonstrates that Belgium usually invested far less than its major competitors. Moreover, the traditional coal and metal industries benefitted most of the investment effort instead of newer sectors like the chemical industry. Thus the present study contributes to explaining for the relatively poor growth performances of the Belgian economy prior to the 1960s.