The Transformation of the Dutch Welfare State Revisited

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
E0.02 (VOC Room) (Oost-Indisch Huis)
Mara Yerkes , Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland - Australia
The Dutch corporatist welfare state recently demonstrated a capacity to respond successfully to changing and emerging social risks. Intensive consultation between the social partners and the state facilitated responses to social risks that did not always privilege the interests of core workers. In addition, the well-structured concertation between the social partners and the state enabled a political exchange, which helped to facilitate the reform of existing social policies. These changes were so profound that it can be concluded that the Dutch welfare state had been ‘transformed’. In particular collectively negotiated ben­efits (both through Company and industry-wide level agreements) helped to fill the gap left by the absence or the changing role (cuts) of welfare state protection.

But have the economic and financial crisis and changes in the political and industrial relations landscape changed the capacity of the Dutch welfare state to respond to social risks? This paper explores the effect of the economic and financial crisis and the changing political context on the relationship between the welfare state, employers and trade unions in response to social risks in the Dutch case.