The Dutch economy has often been heralded for accomplishing solid employment growth within a generous welfare system. In recent years, the Netherlands has seen a rise in low-wage work and has maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands narrows in on the causes and consequences of this new development. The authors find that the increase in low-wage work can be partly attributed to a steep rise in the number of part-time jobs and non-standard work contracts—46 percent of Dutch workers hold part-time jobs. The decline in full-time work has challenged historically powerful Dutch unions and has led to a slow but steady dismantling of many social insurance programs from 1979 onward. At the same time, there are hopeful lessons to be gleaned from the Dutch model: low-wage workers benefit from a well-developed system of income transfers, and many move on to higher paying jobs. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands paints a nuanced picture of the Dutch economy by analyzing institutions that both support and challenge its low-wage workforce.
WIEMER SALVERDA is director of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
MAARTEN VAN KLAVEREN is researcher and consultant at STZ Consultancy and Research.
MARC VAN DER MEER is director of studies at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
CONTRIBUTORS: Ria Hermanussen, Robert Solow, Wim Sprenger, Kea Tijdens, Arjen Van Halem.
A Volume in the RSF Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies