Observations – analyses – forecasts
Switzerland’s economic actors are involved in a diverse range of economic relationships at local, national and international level. The country as a whole must increasingly hold its own in global competition. A wellfunctioning economy should benefit all of those involved, i.e. businesses, workers and consumers. It is therefore essential that the orientation of economic policy be based on reliable findings. In a continually changing environment, this orientation needs to be constantly monitored and adjusted.
That calls for an active policy committed to progress not the status quo. The Economic Policy Directorate prepares the necessary groundwork by monitoring national and international economic development, identifying the need for economic policy action and analysing federal legislation relevant to the whole economy. It also prepares analyses and forecasts on specific issues, such as the functioning of the labour market. It pursues the aim of making factually justified contributions to support the federal government in important economic policy decisions.
Growth and Competition Policy
Our main task is to analyse the supply side of the whole economy, focussing on, among other things, long-term economic development, i.e. trend growth, productivity and innovation capabilities. We are also responsible for the economy’s competition policy framework, which involves the ongoing development of the Cartel Act, the Internal Market Act, government assistance and administered prices as well as determining the appropriateness of new rules in sectors where the state establishes statutory market regulations. In terms of foreign economic policy, our work involves providing the basis for decision-making in the form of analyses of global economic integration and representing Switzerland’s position in the OECD’s economic policy committees.
Short Term Economic Analyses
We analyse and report on Switzerland’s short-term economic development. Our work is of both a quantitative (determining GDP) and qualitative nature (publication on short term economic trends). Furthermore, we are actively involved in the expert group responsible for generating the official GDP forecasts and communicate its findings. In addition, we comment four times a year on the consumer confidence survey. Another of our ongoing tasks is the analysis of traditional and new transmission channels for stimulating the economy.
Labour Market & Social Policy Analyses
We prepare recommendations and bases for decisions regarding labour policy and the overlap with social and economic policy. The issues vary according to existing or emerging problems. They include fields such as migration, youth unemployment, atypical labour relations and education policy issues. We also evaluate the effectiveness of public job placement and active labour market measures at regular intervals. In relation to work-life balance, our activities focus on information campaigns to promote best practices. Last but not least, we are also responsible for the implementation of the tax-deductible job creation reserves.
Technology, Environment & Energy Policy
We introduce economic outlooks and analyses into Switzerland’s national and international environment and energy policies with the aim of implementing national and international measures in an economically efficient way. We deal at great length with measures particularly relevant to the overall economy in the environment and energy sector. In the environmental field, this includes the implementation of the Convention on Climate Change, the Air Purity Ordinance and soil and water protection provisions. In the field of energy, the focus is on energy markets and our joint responsibility for foreign economic policy in respect of energy (in particular the International Energy Agency and the Energy Charter Treaty).
We assist the relevant offices in their analysis of the economic effects of new legislation as part of the regulation impact assessments that feature in Federal Council dispatches. In addition we are responsible for the analysis and the planning of regulatory instruments and measures to improve them (examples: simplified licensing procedures and administrative relief).
We assume editorial responsibility for two of the EAER’s most important publications: the monthly economic policy magazine “Die Volkswirtschaft” (www.dievolkswirtschaft.ch) (available in German and French) and the daily Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (www.shab.ch). As part of the ongoing development of the electronic version of the SOGC, we are responsible for developing a central e-Government application.