Chapter 10: Projection of the socioeconomic development until 2020

For the purposes of the report, socioeconomic modelling fulfils a double function: On the one hand, it shall be capable of connecting findings to the Federal Statistical Office’s macroeconomic data records and build a bridge to its socioeconomic approach to reporting. On the other hand, it shall enable the research association to use scenarios as an additional, illustrative form of representation for the results. Findings from the more micro-analytical chapters of the report will then be used as determining variables within model variants and be examined for their possible macro-economic effects.


Socioeconomic modelling as a cooperation project

In summer 2004, an interdisciplinary Cooperation Group Socioeconomic Modelling was working at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) at Bielefeld University. Its task was to extend the model PANTA RHEI, developed by the Society for Economic Structural Research (GWS) Osnabrück and based on the macro-economic model INFORGE, by introducing social modules. The concrete result of modelling was the demographic model DEMOS which was implemented with the data support by the Federal Statistical Office. Furthermore, simulation calculations were carried out on the development of the labour market in terms of qualifications.

The Socioeconomic Modelling Project cooperates closely with the Federal Statistical Office and its Socioeconomic Report System for a Sustainable Society which – above all with national economic figures – is generating consistent social calculus matrices as regards income, consumption and employment. Especially for the cooperation with Socioeconomic Modelling, the Federal Office has provided additional ‘socioeconomic data modules’: detailed time series (1991-2002, partly 1995-2004) regarding the qualification structure of population and labour force according to ISCED, to household structures as well as to income, consumption and savings of socioeconomic household types.

The Project Team Modelling and the two approaches to reporting conducted by Federal Office and the Research Association (soeb) took centre-stage at the 14th Scientific Colloquium (2005) at the Federal Statistical Office. Another joint event is planned for 2007, its task being the adjustment of the population model DEMOS to the 11th coordinated population forecast. The meeting will also be concerned with modelling approaches dealing with household-related services for the labour market. During the period of concept development for soeb 2 the research association assigned the GWS to prepare an expert report about the possibilities of employing INFORGE/ PANTA RHEI for socioeconomic reporting. During the planning phase of the second report, the expertise was taken into account.


Socioeconomic modelling as an integrating function

Despite all methodical and prognostic insecurities of large econometric models, modelling in reporting may help to estimate the macroeconomic effects caused by changes of individual socioeconomic variables in alternative scenarios. Such partial scenarios are sensitivity tests, not forecasts: The variables to be examined are not modelled endogenously, but rather inserted as external shocks into a base model with otherwise steady structures. Therefore, the results cannot be interpreted as statements on possible future developments, but they may well point out how strongly the economic system reacts towards changes of preconditions and assumptions.

INFORGE/PANTA RHEI was already used for calculating scenarios by the joint project Work and Ecology. From the association’s perspective, the model meets the requirements for the modelling of partial socioeconomic scenarios: It is already quite strongly disaggregated (e.g. by groups of goods and consumption purposes), macro-economically consistent with the aggregates of national economics figures and world trade, and conceptually open, i.e. it is designed to fall back on empirical information for the modelling of connections. Beside macro-economical magnitudes (e.g. gross domestic product, investments, government expenditure, inland revenue), the economic data record comprises a great variety of detailed information about industry (inter alia development of employment and wages in 59 economic sectors, consumption of private households sorted by 41 purposes).

In order to adjust the model to the demands of scenarios within the scope of socioeconomic reporting, model and report have to be developed simultaneously over an extended period:

In a first step, the existing model INFORGE/PANTA RHEI will be updated and extended. The base model used for the report draws on data as at August 2007, supported by data from the period 1991 till 2006. It will go beyond the present state of modelling in at least the following points:

  • The labour force will be taken into account according to qualification levels and branches of industry, in order to determine the future demand for qualifications.
  • The consumption of private households will be differentiated according to about 40 different household types with their respective consumption patterns; their income origins will be integrated into the modelling too. Thus, we can evaluate how the consequences of demographic development and income distribution, mediated through forecasts regarding socioeconomic household types, are affecting the average consumption pattern and consumption in general.

In a second step, this updated and extended model will serve as a starting point for a ‘base run’ (‘Business As Usual’ – BAU) in which socioeconomic magnitudes (e.g. development of consumption patterns, qualification profiles according to sectors of industry) are being perpetuated as trends. For this purpose, the central data records, as evaluated by the association, will be utilised whenever possible. As a result one gets an estimate regarding future qualification requirements, the number of workers by branches, household types and their distribution as well as consumption patterns – deemed plausible by the research association in the light of the current situation. Moreover, the effects of demographic development und economic structural change can be analysed too.

In a third step, alternative scenarios, deviating from the ‘base run’, can be evaluated in terms of their consequences for economic development and the labour market situation. Possible scenarios can relate to the changes in household structures, income origins and consumption patterns. The selection and definition of scenarios can be oriented towards current developments as well as results of individual work packages of the report. Thus, assumptions about changes regarding household formation, functional incomes and consumption patterns will be taken into the creation of scenarios as well as the dynamics present in the transformation of private work into services and the development of energy prices.


Results (German)
Gegenstände und Parameter sozioökonomischer Modellierung PDF
Abschätzung der Möglichkeit des Einsatzes gesamtwirtschaftlicher ökonomischer Modelle und Daten zur Erweiterung der Soziökonomischen Berichterstattung PDF
Abbildung web-1: Bevölkerungspyramiden für 2005 und 2020 PDF
Sozioökonomische Modellierung: Integration der Sozioökonomischen Gesamtrechnung (SGR) des Statistischen Bundesamtes in DEMOS II. soeb-Arbeitspapier 2009-5 PDF

Responsibility for this chapter

Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung (GWS) Osnabrück