The Dutch economy has often been heralded for accomplishing solid employment growth within a generous welfare system. Though this progress has recently been stalled, much can been learned from the Dutch model, which assumes that low-paid workers will eventually move into better jobs. In the Netherlands, this is generally the case, as low wage earners are usually young people or part-time workers. Low-paid workers are supplemented by a well-developed system of transfers to prevent them from falling into poverty.
With support from the Foundation, a group of Dutch researchers will study how competitive pressures are reshaping the nature of low-wage work in a generous welfare state. The research team will conduct case studies in hospitals, hotels, retail stores, food processing plants, and call centers. Within each industry, the investigators will examine several firms, noting how differences such as the type of ownership, emphasis on quality or value, and mode of production affect the condition of low-wage work in this unique environment.