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Product Market Competition and Economic Performance in the Netherlands


  • Maria Maher
  • Michael Wise


This paper assesses what role product market competition and reforms may have played in the performance of the Dutch economy over the past decade, and discusses what further product market reforms might contribute to enhancing growth. In general, competitive pressures appear to be relatively strong in the Netherlands, particularly in the traded goods sector. Competition in product markets has been strengthened through the creation of a competition authority (NMa) and the Competition, Deregulation and Legislative Quality project (MDW). A planned reduction in the administrative burden will also help to strengthen competition, by reducing barriers to business start-ups and the expansion of small businesses, as well as lowering business costs. However, competitive pressures and productivity growth are weaker in the Dutch services sector. Planning restrictions are inhibiting competition and productivity growth in the retail sector and there is considerable scope to eliminate practices that restrict competition in professional services, even though both are relatively liberalised in the Netherlands. Reforms in electricity, gas and telecoms are recent and market power on the part of incumbent firms remains a concern. Competitive pressures in these industries could be increased by enhancing the powers of the regulators and eliminating barriers to entry. Concurrence sur les marchés de produits et performance économique aux Pays-Bas Ce document évalue le rôle que la concurrence sur les marchés de produits et les réformes ont pu jouer dans les performances de l’économie néerlandaise cette dernière décennie et débat sur l’action qui pourrait être menée pour améliorer la croissance. D’une façon générale, les pressions concurrentielles paraissent relativement fortes aux Pays-Bas en particulier dans les secteurs des biens échangés. La concurrence sur les marchés de produits a été renforcée grâce à la mise en place d’une autorité de la concurrence (la NMa) et au projet « Concurrence, déréglementation et qualité de la réglementation » (MDW). L’allégement prévu des charges administratives contribuera également à renforcer la concurrence en réduisant les obstacles à la création d’entreprises et à l’expansion des petites entreprises, tout en diminuant les coûts des activités industrielles ou commerciales. Toutefois, la concurrence et la productivité du travail sont plus faibles dans le secteur des services. Les règles d’urbanisme entravent la concurrence et la croissance de la productivité dans le commerce de détail et de vastes possibilités s’offrent d’éliminer les pratiques qui restreignent la concurrence dans les services professionnels, même si ces activités sont relativement libéralisées aux Pays- Bas. Les réformes dans les secteurs de l’électricité, du gaz et des télécommunications sont récentes et le pouvoir de marché des opérateurs historiques demeure problématique. La concurrence dans ces secteurs pourrait être intensifier, en augmentant les prérogatives des autorités de régulation et en éliminant les barrières à l’entrée.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Maher & Michael Wise, 2005. "Product Market Competition and Economic Performance in the Netherlands," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 422, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:422-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Takero Doi & Takeo Hoshi, 2003. "Paying for the FILP," NBER Chapters,in: Structural Impediments to Growth in Japan, pages 37-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James M. Poterba & Kim Rueben, 1999. "State Fiscal Institutions and the U.S. Municipal Bond Market," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 181-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Andrea Bassanini & Stefano Scarpetta & Philip Hemmings, 2001. "Economic Growth: The Role of Policies and Institutions: Panel Data. Evidence from OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 283, OECD Publishing.
    4. Naoyuki Yoshino & Eisuke Sakakibara, 2002. "The Current State of the Japanese Economy and Remedies," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 110-126.
    5. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Steve Golub & Dana Hajkova & Daniel Mirza & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2003. "Policies and International Integration: Influences on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 359, OECD Publishing.
    6. Doi, Takero & Ihori, Toshihiro, 2002. "Fiscal Reconstruction and Local Interest Groups in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 492-511, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hüschelrath, Kai, 2008. "Is it Worth all the Trouble? The Costs and Benefits of Antitrust Enforcement," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-107, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Khan, Hashmat & Kim, Bae-Geun, 2013. "Markups and oil prices in Canada," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 799-813.

    More about this item


    antitrust law; competition; concurrence; droit de la concurrence; industrie de réseau; market structure; Netherlands; network industries; Pays-Bas; politique de réglementation; productivity and growth; productivité et croissance; regulatory policies; structure de marché;

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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