OECD Economic Surveys: Netherlands

Every 18 months
1999-0367 (online)
1995-3305 (print)
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Ducth economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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OECD Economic Surveys: Netherlands 2016

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03 Mar 2016
9789264251960 (PDF) ; 9789264251953 (EPUB) ;9789264251946(print)

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This 2016 OECD Economic Survey of the Netherlands examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapters cover: Enhancing private investment and Boosting skills for all.

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  • Basic statistics of the Netherlands, 2014

    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries.The economic situation and policies of the Netherlands were reviewed by the Committee on 21 January 2016. The draft report was then revised in the light of the discussions and given final approval as the agreed report of the whole Committee on 9 February 2016.The Secretariat’s draft report was prepared for the Committee by Rafal Kierzenkowski, Sanne Zwart and Gabor Fulop under the supervision of Pierre Beynet. Research assistance was provided by Gabor Fulop and Secretarial assistance was provided by Sylvie Ricordeau. The Survey also benefitted from external consultancy work (Aleksandra Paciorek).The previous Survey of the Netherlands was issued in April 2014.

  • Glossary
  • Executive summary
  • Assessment and recommendations

    Following a period of muted economic activity in the wake of the global downturn, growth has picked up since 2014, and gross domestic product (GDP) has recently overtaken its pre-crisis peak (, Panel A). Growth has broadened from exports to domestic demand (, Panel B). Monetary conditions have been very expansionary for some time, contributing to the revival of the housing market and lifting exports through currency depreciation. The budget deficit has been reduced to below 3% of GDP, and fiscal policy has moved from a restrictive to a neutral stance. Since the 2014 Economic Survey, the authorities have adopted a number of structural reforms, recording the largest increase in the Going for Growth reform responsiveness index in the OECD (OECD, 2015a), the lowest value of the OECD Product Market Regulation indicator, and the 5th best competitiveness position in the latest World Economic Forum ranking. Reform efforts have supported a business-friendly, competitive and innovative environment, boosting consumer confidence and entrepreneurial spirits.

  • Progress in main structural reforms

    This table reviews action taken on recommendations since the Economic Survey of April 2014.

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    • Enhancing private investment

      Investment has rebounded during the recent economic revival, but, from a low level. The investment slump during the crisis was mostly caused by a fall in residential investment. However, business investment has been trending downwards since 1990, holding back capital stock accumulation and productivity. Raising residential investment is necessary to meet the growing demand, and in particular more private rental housing is needed as the current small stock, which reflects rental regulation and other housing policies, hampers the functioning of the housing market. Financing of owner-occupied housing can be made more resilient by stepping up measures taken after the crisis. Regarding business investment, further reinforcing the already good framework conditions would help to turn its cyclical upswing into a durably higher level. Meeting targets on R&D expenditure and renewable energy requires lifting investments in the related areas. Financing conditions, which are widely perceived as an important bottleneck, could be improved by stimulating competition in the banking sector and the development of alternative financing sources.

    • Boosting skills for all

      Strong and adequate skills are essential to support workers’ productivity and to ensure robust employment outcomes. Developing workers’ skills would also increase their personal satisfaction and wages, contributing in making growth more inclusive. The Netherlands performs well in terms of competences of a large part of the population. Moreover, the country has been successful in adjusting the required level of skills over time. The education system plays a key role in developing skills and achieves good results, but there is room to make vocational education and lifelong learning less job-specific to better adapt to new economic trends. There is scope to use more effectively existing skills at work of youth entering the labour market and entrepreneurs, and to reduce labour market mismatches. Another challenge is to help some people to acquire skills by facilitating their labour market integration – in particular first- and second-generation immigrants, long-term unemployed, and people with low educational attainment and health problems –, which requires stronger targeted active labour market policies.

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