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Digital currencies : Threats and opportunities for monetary policy


  • A. Stevens

    (National Bank of Belgium)


The article on the social balance sheet centres on two main themes : changes in the composition of the volume of labour on the one hand, and the level and movement in the wage gap between men and women on the other hand. Between 2000 and 2014, the volume of labour measured in FTEs increased by around 193 000 units, or 12.3 % over 14 years. The number of firms analysed increased from 69 939 to 85 572 over the same period. The volume of labour expanded considerably in health and social work (following the increase in the number of balance sheets submitted), but also in other services, and more moderately in trade and transport. Conversely, it contracted in industry. There were also substantial changes in the structure of the volume of labour broken down by type of workers. The contribution of personnel employed as clerical staff rose sharply while that of manual workers declined. Part-time workers accounted for a larger proportion of the labour force in 2014. Finally, women have become a major driving force in activity, while the volume of labour represented by male workers has diminished. The study of the results for just under 2 000 firms submitting a full balance sheet shows that, in 2014, the cost of an hour’s labour for male workforce was 13.9 % higher, on average, than for female workers. However, the situation is far from uniform as regards both the aggregate wage gap per branch and the results recorded at the level of the firms themselves. Analysis by branch of activity shows that the wage gap is larger than average in trade and transport and in other services, while it is more moderate in industry and slightly negative in health and social work. At the business level, average hourly costs are higher for men than for women in 69 % of firms. The wage gap is 15 % or larger in one in four firms. The movement in the wage gap between 2012 and 2014 was measured on the basis of a constant population of just over a thousand firms. The gap narrowed in 57 % of firms, while it increased moderately in 23.5 % of companies. However, there was only little change in the dispersion of the wage gap observations between those two years. The firms in this constant population recording a positive wage gap still represented a large share of the total in 2014, even if they were proportionately fewer than two years ago.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Stevens, 2017. "Digital currencies : Threats and opportunities for monetary policy," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue i, pages 79-92, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2017:m:june:i:i:p:79-92

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole Jonker, 2018. "What drives bitcoin adoption by retailers," DNB Working Papers 585, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    2. Gaston Giordana & Paolo Guarda, 2019. "Why do social networks introduce virtual currencies?," BCL working papers 132, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    3. Noelia Camara & Enestor Dos Santos & Francisco Grippa & Javier Sebastian & Fernando Soto & Cristina Varela, 2018. "Monedas digitales emitidas por bancos centrales: una valoracion de su adopcion en LatAm," Working Papers 18/05, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    4. Paolo Fegatelli, 2019. "Central bank digital currencies: The case of universal central bank reserves," BCL working papers 130, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    5. Aiste Juskaite & Sigitas Siaudinis & Tomas Reichenbachas, 2019. "CBDC – in a whirlpool of discussion," Bank of Lithuania Occasional Paper Series 29, Bank of Lithuania.
    6. Walter Engert & Ben Fung, 2017. "Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and Implications," Discussion Papers 17-16, Bank of Canada.
    7. DIMITRIU, Mihail, 2017. "Currency, Financial System And Virtual Space. A Microeconomic Approach," Journal of Financial and Monetary Economics, Centre of Financial and Monetary Research "Victor Slavescu", vol. 4(1), pages 261-265.

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