Capital Formation
in Belgium, 1900-1995

By Michelangelo van Meerten
December 2003
Leuven University Press
ISBN: 90-5867-255-7
413 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$197.50 Paper Original

Since man started to settle and produce goods and services using tools instead of only hands, investment in equipment and in buildings used for storage and production became a part of economic life. Economists have used different terms to designate the process of acquiring or constructing capital goods like equipment, buildings and infrastructural outlays.

Keynes for instance preferred to speak of investment, while Kuznets employed the term capital formation. To these terms one can add the words net or gross, depending on whether one talks about only new investment or capital formation, or both new investment and the allowances made to replace existing capital goods, and fixed, if one wants to focus on capital goods and leave out investment in stocks.

In order to avoid possible confusion with financial investment and financial capital, it is better to speak of asset formation, which is the term that is generally used in this study. The scope of the present study is the reconstruction of gross fixed asset formation in Belgium by the private sector for the period 1900-1953 (Initially the reconstruction of gross fixed asset formation was limited to the period 1910-53.

For the present study the reconstruction was extended to the period 1900-09) and an initial global analysis of the outcomes and their role in the long-term performance of the Belgian economy (1910-95). A secondary aim is the reconstruction of the value of changes in stocks or inventories for the private sector for the period 1900-53.

Economic History
Studies in Social & Economic History, Vol. 28

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