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Ups and downs in the polder. Post-war economic coordination in the Netherlands


Admission requirements



The Dutch economy is both market-oriented and highly coordinated. This is an interesting paradox. For example, it is often argued that the free market should not be hindered by regulation. But the Dutch labour market shows that regulation and consultation (the ‘polder’) have been beneficial to the Dutch export performance. In this course we will examine in which areas non-market coordination could be observed and how these practices changed during the post-war period. Did coordination withstand the influence of globalisation?
There are two approaches to this question which we will explore: (1) using archival sources, we will attempt to review the degree of non-market coordination in the Dutch economy in the postwar period. This can be done by addressing a range of issues, such as labour relations, the welfare state, corporate governance, intercompany networks, vocational training, or codetermination on the shop floor; (2) using statistics which are widely avaiable, we will outline the differences (and also analogies) between the Netherlands and other OECD economies.

Course objectives

  • Concepts, notions and perceptions of comparative capitalism and economic institutions

  • historiographical knowledge of the state of the debate

  • critical insights into the literature

  • use varied primary sources to build historical case-studies and re-define theoretical approaches

  • understand the developments in the post-1945 economy and the policy responses


See here.

Mode of instruction

Research seminar.

Assessment method

Term paper of about 7500 words.



Reading list

  • Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, ‘Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism’ (2001) 1-68 (freely available on the internet)

  • The rest of the literature will be provided during the semester


via uSis.

Contact information

E-mail: Dr. L.J. Touwen