The significance of labour market and income protection reforms for social segmentation and citizens’ discontent
Cok Vrooman, head of the Labour and Public Services research sector at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCP, delivered his inaugural lecture on 30 March 2016 on acceptance of the Endowed Chair in Social Security and Participation at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University.
In his lecture, Professor Vrooman examined whether the reversal in public reactions in the Netherlands is related to the changing certainties in the fields of work and income. An analysis of the reforms of legal rules and stipulations shows that people aged between 18 and 64 years have seen their income security fall by 34% since 1980. This has been mitigated by improvements in old age pensions. Over the past three decades, the decline in the labour market security of people below the pension age (-27%) was almost as great as the reduction in their income security.
It is likely that the growing ‘taking part in uncertainty’ has had an impact on the social segmentation of the Netherlands. It has also probably fuelled discontent among people with few resources and those who fear that their present situation will deteriorate in the future.
Professor Vrooman also devoted brief attention in his lecture to the relationship between social networks and benefit dependency, one of the central themes of this new chair of study.
The original Dutch version of this inaugural lecture Meedoen in onzekerheid (pdf) was published via Utrecht University. The chair in Social Security and Participation was endowed by Instituut Gak, a foundation promoting research and projects on labour market and social security issues.