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Database on micro-economic reforms MICREF

MICREF is a tool to monitor and analyse the reform process. Its aim is to improve the surveillance of micro-economic reforms in the EU Member States in the context of the Lisbon agenda.   

Tracking microeconomic reforms in the EU Member States is part of the activities of the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN).

DG ECFIN has developed MICREF in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre in Ispra and the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, with Member State support through the Lisbon Methodology Working Group (LIME) attached to the Economic Policy Committee (EPC).

Aim and scope of MICREF

MICREF provides a systematic record of the actual implementation of microeconomic reform measures. Only reform measures that are likely to have a significant economic impact and to raise potential growth are included in the database. The database also provides information on the design and scope of reforms undertaken.

MICREF is organised around three "broad policy domains":

  • open and competitive markets;
  • business environment and entrepreneurship; and
  • knowledge-based economy.

These domains correspond to seven "broad policy fields": market integration; competition policy; sector-specific regulation; start-up conditions; business environment; R&D and innovation; and education; each policy field is subdivided into "areas of policy intervention" , leading to "reform areas" as the lowest level in the database structure.

The database also includes a set of descriptive features of these reform measures to facilitate cross-country comparisons of priorities.

MICREF is particularly suitable to:

  • conduct country-specific studies and multilateral reform surveillance exercises for thematic reviews;
  • describe ex-post implemented reforms across countries and over time, including the interlinkages across reform areas in reform packages;
  • carry out (multi-annual) analyses of reform strategies and their interlinkages.

The database is used as a tool to provide information on microeconomic reforms to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) and the EPC and its working groups. It feeds into analytical reports and country studies produced by DG ECFIN, and provides inputs to the Commission's work in general.

>> Access the MICREF database multi-criteria search tool

Information available

MICREF covers microeconomic reform measures in the 27 EU Member States, implemented between 2004 and 2008 (EU-15: 2000-2008). In co-operation with the Member States the database is regularly updated. Information on reform measures of the year 2009 will be available during the course of 2010.

MICREF User guide

Description of the coverage and structure of the web-based MICREF databasepdf(126 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

Report to the general public

The report to the general public is intended to inform interested researchers in academia and other potential users on the work undertaken by the Commission services so far and to stimulate the use the database for research. To this end the report looks into the rationale for creating a database on microeconomic reforms and the value added of the database. It also includes an overview of the information contained in MICREF (coverage, structure) as well as suggestions about its potential uses. As an illustration, a number of indicators using the qualitative information in the database are also presented. Finally, the report gives some indications on the further exploitation of the MICREF database.

Report to the general public - Tracking microeconomic reforms in the EU Member States with the MICREF databasepdf(350 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

MICREF expert meeting , July 2009

After the development phase of MICREF, an expert meeting was held on 3 July 2009. The objectives were to discuss the design and the exploitation of structural reform databases and reform strategies with their interactions. The meeting presented different perspectives on data collection of structural reforms and its use and made a number of useful recommendations. Please contact the MICREF mailbox for the meeting's presentations (agendapdf(14 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  of the meeting).

The database design was overhauled based on the insights gained in the meeting. A new MICREF project was launched in January 2010 with the objective of increasing the data density and implementing the new design.

MICREF quotations in papers and publications

When quoting, please include the link to MICREF and the following reference:

European Commission, MICREF database

We are pleased to establish links to published and unpublished works that make use of the MICREF database. To benefit from this service, please send your work with relevant references to the MICREF mailbox.

Invitation to researchers

DG ECFIN invites researchers to conduct and publish academic work on the MICREF database. Please contact the MICREF mailbox for full access of the database.

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