The Netherlands: Social Pacts in a Concertation Economy
The Dutch chapter demonstrates that social pacts are the standard operating procedure in times of crisis in the Netherlands. After the early Wassenaar agreement, pacts became the institutional alternative to state intervention. The chapter calculates that eleven of the thirty years since 1980 have been covered by pacts on wage moderation, and in non-pact years there has been a fair amount of coordination as well. By contrast with other weaker forms of social pacting studied in other chapters in this volume, this analysis confirms the picture of the Netherlands as a coordinated market economy of the corporatist variant, characterized by a high degree of mutual cooperation between unions and employers, and regular consultations with the government. But the chapter also reveals that coordination and consultation cannot be taken for granted, but are occasionally rewired to meet new conditions via conflict and tough bargaining over diverse interests.
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