Tout est solidaire, tout est solitaire“ (M. Blondel, L’Action, 1893) – everything is connected with everything, everything exists alone. In the economy, in the end, all economic sectors are intertwined directly or indirectly with each other through exchange relations. These interconnections are presented in complex tables, called input-output-tables (IOT). In many, but not in all OECD member states, national IOT are generated and provided by the respective statistical office according to uniform guidelines. In Austria the statistical office called Statistics Austria is entrusted with this task.

IOT at national level form the basis of the input-output-analysis, a classical and proven method in the field of empirical economic research. While IOT are used to identify the interconnections between the various production sectors, the input-output-analysis aims, amongst other things, to determine the impact of a change in demand in a certain sector on all other sectors. The input-output-analysis can also be used to calculate the contributions generated by companies and branches of industry to value added and employment. In addition to the direct effects arising from current business operations as well as from investing activities (attention has to be paid to the fact that the depreciations resulting therefrom do not lead to double countings), indirect and induced effects are also presented.

  • The direct effects correspond to gross value added and employment, which are generated or secured directly by the company in question or by the branch of industry concerned.
  • The indirect effects are caused by preliminary work interlinkages of the company or the branch of industry with other sectors. This stimulates the final demand in the upstream manufacturing companies, which in turn require preliminary work.
  • Income generated at the level of direct and indirect effects, in turn, partly flows back into the economic cycle and trigger induced effects. In this way, the final demand, particularly in (retail) trade, is stimulated.

The sum of these three effects amounts to the total effect or the overall effect.

The increasing interest in economic analyses at the regional level has recently led to the development of additional regional input-output-tables (for example for individual federal states). These are presented in two forms: as a one-region-table and as a multiregional table. The advantage of a multiregional table is that it also takes the interregional trade relations between various regions into consideration, in contrast to one-region-tables, which only take the intraregional trade in the specific region into account. The smaller the selected area of investigation is, the greater is the proportion, ceteris paribus, of the cross-border trade relations. This leads to the fact that, the smaller the selected region is, the higher is the importance of the use of a multiregional table in the interest of the quality of analysis.

The creation of multiregional IOT is an elaborate and data-intensive undertaking, if the interregional interconnections are to be portrayed precisely. For more than 10 years now, the Cognion Research Association has been providing multiregional IOT, which are constantly updated and expanded regarding their geographic scope, most recently for Swiss cantons.