Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Archive for the ‘Reader responses’ Category

Disability reform in the Netherlands: How did it happen?

By Jan-Maarten van Sonsbeek and Raymond Gradus.  In the 1990s and in the beginning of this century, disability benefit rates in the Netherlands were among the highest in the world. Since then, the number of disability cases has dropped by more than 60% due to some very successful policy reforms such as the introduction of a new disability benefit law (WIA) in 2006.

In a recent article in Governance, Paulette Kurzer investigates how such a major reform was possible. She argues that it was against all odds: it was done by the center-right Balkenende II cabinet in times of economic growth with fierce opposition of the social partners (trade unions and employers organizations). She puts forward that many voters were not opposed to reform anymore because they learned about the high benefit rates of immigrants, whom they consider not deserving a benefit.

In our opinion, there are some key elements missing in Kurzer’s analysis. First, the 2006 law was not the reform that overshadows all others. Second, unlike the author states, the circumstances for pushing through the WIA reform were good in the early 2000s. Third, the supposed link between acceptance of the reforms by the voters and the attitude of the voters towards ethnic minorities is not so strong as Kurzer suggests. In our opinion, the key element why the WIA law succeeded whereas some earlier system reforms failed, was the smart design of that law. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by governancejournal

May 5, 2013 at 7:48 am

Posted in Reader responses


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