Reinventing the Welfare State

Ruud de Mooij

The Dutch welfare state is under pressure. Future trends of ageing and globalisation render public finances unsustainable and worsen the position of low-skilled workers on the labour market. At the same time, welfare state institutions seem insufficiently adapted to changed socio-cultural circumstances. Moreover, they cause inactivity among elderly workers, women and social benefit recipients. To prepare for the future, the Dutch government aims to raise labour supply and improve human capital. This study explores how welfare state reform can contribute to these goals. Thereby, we take into account the key social and economic functions that the welfare state fulfils in our society. We analyse a number of reforms in Dutch institutions from a broad welfare perspective and quantify their effects on the labour market and the income distribution. The study also develops three comprehensive prototype welfare state reforms for the Netherlands in the future. We explore how robust these different prototypes are for immigration, economic integration and technological change.

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