Social-Economic Council

Social-Economic Council

Social-Economic Council

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The Sociaal-Economische Raad (Social and Economic Council; SER) is a major economic advisory council of the Dutch government. Formally it heads a system of sector-based regulatory organizations. It represents the social partners trade unions and employers' organizations. It forms the core organization of the corporatist and social market economy known as the polder model and the main platform for social dialogue.


The SER was founded in 1950. It was founded after a long debate about the economic order of the Netherlands. The two main governing parties of the time, the Catholic KVP and the social-democratic PvdA had differing opinions on the subject. Both wanted to prevent the repetition of the economic crisis of the 1930s. The social-democrats preferred to grant the government an important regulatory role in the economy, while the Catholics preferred to rely on the workings of a self-regulating market economy. A compromise was found in the corporatist model, in which both trade unions and employers' organizations would form sector-based regulatory organizations. The SER headed this structure and served as important partner for the national government. The SER was very important in the reconstruction of the Netherlands after the Second World War.

In the 1950s and 60s the SER was particularly successful in ensuring economic growth by close cooperation between government, trade unions and employers' organizations. In the 1970s because of rising political polarization...
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