Knowledge capital stock

In 2018, Belgium's knowledge capital stock stood at 16.4% of gross domestic product. The knowledge capital stock must not decrease.

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Knowledge capital stock - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of gross domestic product

//: Average Growth Rates

Calculations FPB based on National Accounts Institute (2019), National accounts / Capital Stock, (consulted on 21/10/2019); Eurostat (2019), Balance sheets for non-financial assets [nama_10_nfa_bs] and GDP and main components (output, expenditure and income) [nama_10_gdp], (consulted on 21/10/2019).

Definition: the knowledge capital stock is the sum of all fixed assets classified in the Section ‘Intellectual property products’ (Section AN.117 in the National Accounts; Eurostat, 2013). The indicator measures the net knowledge capital stock. It is calculated by deducting the cumulative value of depreciation from the gross knowledge capital stock, all assets of which being valued at the prices that would have to be paid if the assets were purchased now. The indicator is expressed as a percentage of GDP. Data for Belgium are collected by the National Accounts Institute. In order to allow comparison with the other European countries, the indicator is calculated from Eurostat data.

Goal: the knowledge capital stock must not decrease.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 9.5: “Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.”

The knowledge capital stock “is a means of carrying forward value from one accounting period to another” (Eurostat, 2013, p.184). This capital stock can therefore be used by future generations and contribute to their well-being. Looking forward, it is estimated that the knowledge capital stock must be maintained (UNECE, 2014, p.29). It is considered as an implicit objective that the net knowledge capital stock must not decrease.

International comparison: in comparison with its three neighbouring countries, Belgium has the lowest level of knowledge capital stock in 2017 (in percentage of GDP). This applies to the whole period analysed. In 2017, the level of this indicator in Belgium was 2.4 percentage points below the average of its three neighbouring countries, compared to a gap of about 5.3 percentage points in 1995.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 9.5. Indeed, developing knowledge within an economy requires an increase in its knowledge capital stock.


  • General

    • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

    • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

    • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: (consulted on 23/10/2018).

    • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: (consulted on 23/10/2018).
  • Specific

    • Eurostat (2013), European system of accounts. ESA 2010, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2013.

    • UNECE (2014), Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations on Measuring Sustainable Development, (consulted on 01/12/2015).

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