Dutch corporatism: Does it still work? Policy formation and macroeconomic performance 1980-2005

J.J. Woldendorp, L. Delsen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


This paper challenges the analysis of Dutch corporatism as evolving from a model of institutional sclerosis and political stagnation in the 1980s that transformed the Dutch Disease by means of the so-called Polder Model into the Dutch Miracle in the late 1990s. Two questions are addressed in this paper: Did corporatism contribute to effective policy formation (Central Agreements) between 1980 and 2005? Did Central Agreements improve macroeconomic performance? Corporatism did indeed contribute to effective policy formation but there is little evidence for an ineffective corporatist model in the 1980s or for an effective Polder Model in the late 1990s. Comparing the Netherlands with the other EMU member states shows that Dutch macroeconomic performance is not exceptional, negative (indicating Dutch Disease) nor positive (Dutch Miracle), and is not directly related to the behaviour of government and the 'social partners' or the effectiveness of the outcomes as measured by means of Central Agreements. Actors' behaviour as well as effective policy formation appears contingent on macroeconomic conditions and EU-driven developments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-332
Number of pages25
JournalActa Politica
Issue number2/3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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