- '"As the Central Planning Bureau says". The Dutch wage restraint paradigm, its sustaining epistemic community and its relevance for comparative research
- Review of International Political Economy
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Wage restraint has been the paradigm in the much discussed Dutch political economy - just as labor market liberalization is the paradigm in the internationally dominant politico-economic policy discourse. The Dutch employment 'miracle' has been associated with the protracted wage restraint capital and labor agreed upon in 1982 to improve competitiveness, profits and investment. Competitiveness and investment have not improved since then, however. Nonetheless, the paradigm is remarkably stable. It is sustained by a broad epistemic community of politicians, academics, journalists, civil servants and at its heart the Central Planning Bureau (CPB), a government advisory agency that since the 1950s has been the intellectual center of Dutch socio-economic policy making. Partially based on interviews we analyze the paradigmatic character of the wage restraint formula, the epistemic community sustaining it and the pivotal position of the CPB within this community. Looking for the basis of its stability we think that accidental circumstances, the esteem of the CPB, imitation, conformism and idleness are explanatory factors, which appear to be as relevant as and perhaps even more relevant than rational convictions, and which could also shed some light on the dominance of liberal reform paradigms or other cases of ideational dominance.
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