Value for Money in Government: The Netherlands 2010

image of Value for Money in Government: The Netherlands 2010

Public administration has entered a new age. In the 1980s, “less” government was the prevailing idea; in the 1990s and early 21st century, “New Public Management” was the dominant theme. Today, public administration is moving in new directions. Reforms are focusing on the quality of services for citizens and businesses and on the efficiency of administration (the “back office” of government). The OECD is studying these new trends in a multi-annual, cross-country project called “Value for Money in Government”.

This publication focuses on the Netherlands and provides an overview of previous Dutch reforms and recommendations for further reforms in view of the need to get better value for money from government.


Overview of previous Dutch reforms

Since the 1980s, three periods of reform can be distinguished in the Netherlands, as is also the case in many OECD member countries. The 1980s were years of “receding government”. Policies in these years were inspired by the theory of supply-side economics that emphasised the burden of large government on society and the adverse effects of high tax levels on economic growth. These were the years of the Reagan administration in the United States, of the Thatcher government in the United Kingdom, and of the “no-nonsense” cabinets of Prime Minister Lubbers in the Netherlands. In this period, the spending review procedure was developed and the “grand operations” (see below) had a far-reaching impact on the size and structure of government.


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