KEPE - Centre for Planning and Economic Research
by Vassilis Droucopoulos
The Centre for Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) is the national economic research centre of Greece. Besides its main task - the scientific study of the Greek economy - it is also engaged in economic development planning, research on the Greek social security system and macro-economic modelling.
The Centre for Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) was founded in 1959 as a small research unit, under the name "The Centre for Economic Research". Its main aims were the scientific study of the economic problems of Greece, the encouragement of economic research
and collaboration with other scientific institutions in Greece and abroad.
In 1964 KEPE took the name it bears today as well as its present structure, under the supervision of the Ministry of Coordination. In the same year KEPE assumed the following additional responsibilities:
a. The drawing up of drafts of short- and long-term development plans.
b. The formulation of drafts for regional and physical development plans, as well as for public investment plans, according to guidelines laid down by the government.
c. The monitoring and analysis of the short- and long-term development of the Greek economy, as well as the drawing up of proposals regarding appropriate measures to be taken.
d. The training of young economists, particularly in the fields of planning and economic development.
KEPE is governed by a seven-member Administrative Board. Five members are appointed by the Ministry of National Economy for a three-year term; the other two members are the Director and the elected represantative of the scientific personnel of KEPE working in the field of economics. The Director is responsible for the supervision of scientific work; he also heads the administrative services and the personnel and is the organization's highest executive. In the performance of his duties the Director is aided by other advisory bodies such as the Research Committee, whose principal task is to draw up the programme of KEPE's research projects, to monitor their execution, to supervise and evaluate the procedures for assessing studies, as well as to provide an opinion on the undertaking of studies on behalf of other research institutions and international organizations and on the assignment of studies to outside collaborators by KEPE.
3. Financial Resources - Management
KEPE is financed by the State Budget and by the Public Investment Budget of the Ministry of National Economy. However, KEPE also has its own financial resources which derive from payment for studies assigned to it by international organizations and other public bodies as well as from the sale of its own publications.
In 1991 a Special Account was established at KEPE in order to manage research funds granted to KEPE for specific projects with the flexibility that characterizes the private sector. This Special Account is administered by a five-member Administrative Committee headed by the Secretary General of the Ministry of National Economy and audited by chartered accountants.
Presidents of the administrative board, Directors and associate directors of kepe from 1961 to the present
In order to fulfil its purpose, KEPE employs a permanent staff of 134 persons. The research personnel consisits of 83 individuals, mainly economists (senior research fellows, research fellows and research associates), of whom 36 hold a Ph.D. and 33 a Masters degree, mainly from universities abroad. KEPE also employs administrative personnel consisting of 46 people trained in various fields. On occasion KEPE also calls on the services of Greek and foreign experts from universities, research institutes, the Greek civil service and other organizations.
1. Planning - Economic Policy - European Projects
KEPE has made a substantial contribution to the formulation and elaboration of all the plans for economic and social development, at both the national and the regional levels, elaborated in Greece since 1966. In support of such development plans, KEPE undertakes to carry out studies on topics of practical importance, either using its own staff or assigning the work to outside collaborators.
For the preparation of development plans task forces are formed consisting of specialists in the public and private sectors with relevant knowledge and experience. KEPE's staff participates in these task forces as members and/or rapporteurs; they undertake both the organization of the research material that is collected and processed by the Committee and the supervision of its publications in the form of reports.
As an advisory body supervised by the Ministry of National Economy, KEPE offers its technical services on matters of economic and social policy. The specialization of KEPE's personnel in particular fields results in their acquisition of experience and knowledge which is then applied to the formulation of proposals on specific topics for public sector agencies who have requested the services of KEPE. The Centre's personnel take part in many task forces, either as main advisors or as simple members.
The Ministry of National Economy assigned to KEPE the responsibility for the elaboration of the relevant data at the national and regional level and the drafting of the Regional Development Plan (RDP) 1994-1999 - also known as the Second Delors Package - and provided the required terms of reference.
The draft RDP was submitted to the Ministry in April 1993 for the final drafting at the political level. Subsequently it was officially submitted to the European Commission in Brussels.
In the context of the review of the RDP 1994-1999 by the new government elected in October 1993, KEPE was asked to prepare macroeconometric scenarios aiming at the estimation of the economic impact of the forthcoming Communitiy Support Framework (CSF) 1994-1999 and at laying the ground for the preparation of the new Convergence Plan.
KEPE was also assigned the preparation of the so-called Financial Table for the CSF 1994-1999 and was engaged in the preparation of the Physical and Impact Indicators which were negotiated for inclusion in the CSF in question to serve as the basis for the monitoring of the progress attained during its implementation.
Members of KEPE staff are participating in the Working Parties at the centre and the regions which are currently preparing the operational programmes for the CSF 1994-1999.
On assignment by the Ministry of National Economy KEPE prepared two studies on topics related to important current policy issues. The first, which was delivered in June 1995, dealt with the likely impact of pricing and profit policies by Greek firms upon the course of inflation and the effort to reduce it. The second, which was delivered in February 1996, addressed issues related to industrial structure and industrial development policy, employment structure and employment policy and their interconnections.
The Ministry of National Economy has recently assigned to KEPE the preparation of a study on the likey impact upon future current government expenditure of the future operation of the economic and social infrastructure to be created with the resources of the Community Support Framework for the period 1994-1999, better known as the Second Delors Package.
2. Research - Scientific Publications
As regards research, KEPE has carried out a large number of research projects. Some of these have been the work of professors from Greek universities, while others have been the work of visiting experts or professors from abroad.
KEPE's research efforts are primarily directed towards filling in some basic gaps in our knowledge of the workings of the Greek economy. They aim at developing collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach. Thus research at KEPE as a rule focuses on collective projects on topics that are of critical importance to the country's development.
The Centre's research and planning activities are reflected by its publications, whose aim is to promote knowledge and information. It should be noted that, since its foundation, KEPE has published almost 520 studies. A complete list of KEPE's publications is included in the Information Bulletin (April 1996).
KEPE's publications are distributed free to public libraries as well as to the libraries of universities, prefectures, public organizations, banks, chambers of commerce etc., and are also on sale at KEPE. Students at home and abroad and Greek applicants for postgraduate studies are offered a 50% discount on KEPE's publications.
KEPE also publishes a quarterly News Bulletin (in Greek) informing on the current activities of the organization: scientific publications, seminars etc., which is distributed free to the public. In support of its activities KEPE has undertaken to publish a new periodical with the title "OIKONOMIKA" ("ECONO-MICS") this year. It will deal with scientific research, mainly with problems of the Greek society, and will be addressed to a wide range of interested people, particularly to economists.
Copies of all publications are available at the Centre's Library.
3. Educational Activities
KEPE has been extremely active in the field of education, providing opportunities for practical training to young economists, granting scholarships for post-graduate studies in economics and planning, and organizing lectures by Greek and foreign specialists. Moreover, KEPE's personnel participates in EC and other international committees and attends international conferences.
The organization's scholarship programme has enabled its staff to specialize in areas relevant to the country's developmental needs and to the advancement of scientific research. More than 170 individuals have benefited from this programme, of whom 70 have gained a Ph.D. degree. Another aspect of KEPE's educational activity is its participation, for many years now, in the training of civil servants.
KEPE's one-day conference and lecture programme contributes to the continuous scientific up-dating of its personnel; it also encourages the spirit of collaboration in the field of economics and the open exchange of views between specialists in different areas. Greek and foreign specialists and university professors take part in this programme and a wide range of people follow it with great interest.
III. Collaboration with other institutions and organizations
Since its foundation, KEPE has cultivated relations of close collaboration with equivalent research and educational institutions, in order to promote an exchange of views, information and publications on current economic developments and methods of research in economics. This collaboration has enabled the Centre to secure the services of many distinguished specialists, who have visited KEPE either as guests or as part of their sabbatical leave, thus contributing to the advancement of economic science in this country. The Centre aims not only at continuing this valuable collaboration, but also at increasing it as much as possible in the future.
Moreover, within the framework of this collaboration KEPE has undertaken to carry out studies on behalf of international organizations such as the OECD, the EU, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, etc. Studies carried out by the Centre on behalf of other agencies are listed in the Information Bulletin (April 1996), following the List of Publications.
One research project in which KEPE is currently participating is:
The LINK Project
Greek participation in this project, which started in 1978, consists of the following responsibilities:
- The construction and use of a macro-economic model which has been linked to the world LINK model.
- Regular updating of the data base and continuous development of the model.
- Medium-term forecast at least twice a year.
- Participating in the LINK meetings twice a year, during which representatives from all over the world discuss international economic developments and medium-term prospects.
IV. Support services
KEPE has a special research Library with a rich collection of books, periodicals and other material on the social sciences, with an emphasis on economics, which makes a significant contribution to the raising of research and planning standards in Greece.
The Library of KEPE includes twenty-four thousand one hundred and forty (24,140) books, seven hundred and forty (740) Greek and foreign periodical titles, about three thousand six hundred and twenty (3,620) Working Papers, as well as two hundred and seventy (270) series of statistical bulletins, and directly serves the needs of its researchers. It is open to the public from 11.00 to 13.00. Readers have the possibility of making photocopies. KEPE's Library collaborates with other Greek and foreign libraries as regards borrowing or photocopying publications if the need arises. It must be noted that the Centre's Library operates as a Depository Library for World Bank publications, while an Exchange Agreement has been made with the OECD.
2. KEPE'S Computer Department (e-mail: root@kepe.