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The Dutch employment miracle? A comparison of employment systems in the Netherlands and Germany


  • Schmid, Günther


In the 1980s, the Netherlands had one of the highest unemployment rates in the European Community, Germany one of the lowest. Today, the reverse is true. Is there a Dutch employment miracle? If so, how can it be explained? This essay is an attempt to answer these questions in seven steps. Beginning with the development of an analytical framework within which employment systems are compared, the author measures the performance of the two labour markets and economies, paying particular attention to the role of labour market policy in the process of adapting to structural change. It is shown that the Netherlands has an interesting new configuration in which the advantages of competitive and coordinated capitalism are combined with a modernised form of the welfare state. A key shortcoming of both employment systems remains the hitherto highly passive character of employment redistribution. Transitional labour markets would be a more appropriate strategy for redistributing employment in order to link long-term social needs and economic efficiency. On the whole, however, developments in the Netherlands point much more clearly than those in Germany to a path along which the European model could move.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmid, Günther, 1997. "The Dutch employment miracle? A comparison of employment systems in the Netherlands and Germany," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 97-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzblpe:fsi97202

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Garrett, Geoffrey & Lange, Peter, 1995. "Internationalization, institutions, and political change," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 627-655, September.
    2. Calmfors, Lars & Skedinger, Per, 1995. "Does Active Labour-Market Policy Increase Employment? Theoretical Considerations and Some Empirical Evidence from Sweden," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 91-109, Spring.
    3. repec:hhs:iuiwop:429 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Günther Schmid & Jacqueline O’Reilly & Klaus Schömann (ed.), 1996. "International Handbook of Labour Market Policy and Evaluation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 955.
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    1. repec:dgr:rugsom:02a26 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wilthagen, Ton, 1998. "Flexicurity: A new paradigm for labour market policy reform?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 98-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Wielers, Rudi & Meer, Peter van der, 2002. "Lower educated workers and part-time work : the Netherlands, 1973-1991," Research Report 02A26, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).

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