Anders polderen – Lange termijn hervormingsbeleid in de veel-partijen-overlegeconomie

A.C. Hemerijck

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Dutch socioeconomic concertation has experienced some transformative changes in its modus operandi in recent years, which has given the 'Polder Model' a new lease on life for the time being. Building on an older tradition of sharing political space with civil society organizations, the recent liberal-social democratic government coalition, with Mark Rutte at the helm (2012-2017), has been able to enact a surprisingly successful structural reform agenda in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Governing in times of significant economic, social and political uncertainty, it is no mean feat that the Rutte II administration – de facto a minority government – is the first Dutch coalition to complete its term since the administration under Wim Kok (1994-1998). After the foundational Social Accord (the so-called Mondriaan Akkoord) in April 2013, a series of reform agreements were reached in the policy areas of education, housing, healthcare, industrial and energy policy. For each of these more meso-level accords, a variety of civil society organizations participated that were beyond the traditional social partners of business and labor. Over time these seemingly ad hoc, open and non-hierarchical agreements materialized in a trajectory of cumulatively transformative policy change. The political tactic of the Rutte II government stands out in comparison with the halcyon Dutch miracle era of the Polder Model in the 1980s and 1990. We explain the new modes of Dutch socioeconomic policy concertation and its political tactic as a kind of rallying around existing institutional arrangements to bring the contested political and social center together behind a major adjustment strategy, including retrenchment, compensatory social meas­ures and investments, when reform output and outcomes are fundamentally uncertain. Whether the new Polder Model will prove robust remains an open question. Recently, new multiple party covenants were negotiated in the textile and banking industry. Meanwhile a number of issues concerning regional labor market regulation and work-life balance reconciliation have yet to be resolved.
Original languageDutch
JournalTijdschrift voor arbeidsvraagstukken
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • concertation
  • accords
  • new polder model

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