Varieties of Capitalism and Business History: The Dutch Case, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Varieties of Capitalism and Business History

The Dutch Case, 1st Edition

Edited by Keetie E. Sluyterman


232 pages | 28 B/W Illus.

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The financial crisis of 2008 brought new urgency to the question how best to organise national economies. This volume gives a business history perspective on the Varieties of Capitalism debate and considers the respective merits of the liberal and coordinated market economies. It looks at individual firms and business people as well as institutions and takes a long-term perspective by covering the whole 20th century. The authors examine both continuity and change with a particular focus on the Netherlands, a nation with an open economy, situated between two countries that oppose each other in the way they organize their economies: Germany and Great Britain. The Netherlands also provides an important case study with Dutch business maintaining strong links to the United States, widely considered to be the ‘typical’ liberal market economy.

Contributors address the main topics of the capitalism debate, including labour relations, corporate governance, the firm and its leaders, coordination between firms, innovation, multinationals as agents of change, and economic performance. They show that the Netherlands moved from a mostly liberal market economy before 1914 towards a coordinated market economy from the 1930s onwards, and – up to a certain extent – back again to a more liberal market economy. Under both varieties of capitalism the country experienced economic growth and stagnation, but a more equal division of wealth occurred in the coordinated market economy only. Wars and international economic crises offered moments for revaluation and changes of tack.

This book raises questions for every country around the globe: How is change being brought about? Can one see different results from a liberal or a more coordinated market economy? And most critically: which system is more effective in bringing prosperity and enabling enough people to share in the wealth?

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Keetie Sluyterman 2. The Evolving Role of Shareholders in Dutch Corporate Governance Abe de Jong, Ailsa Röell, and Gerarda Westerhuis 3.An Entrepreneurial Perspective on Varieties of Capitalism Jacques van Gerwen and Ferry de Goey 4. Multinationals as Agents of Change Keetie Sluyterman and Ben Wubs 5. Between Competition and Concentration: Business Interest Associations, Cartels, Mergers and Acquisitions Bram Bouwens and Joost Dankers 6. The Dutch ‘Polder Model’: The Prosperity of a Consultative Economy in an Era of Neoliberalism – A Paradox? Erik Nijhof and Annette van den Berg 7. Knowledge, Innovation Processes and Institutional Complementarities Mila David 8. Business Systems and Economic Performance in the Dutch Case Jan Luiten van Zanden

About the Editor

Keetie Sluyterman is Professor of Business History at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and a specialist in Dutch business history of the nineteenth and twentieth century. She has written or jointly authored a large number of business histories including Dutch Enterprise in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2005). She is one of the project leaders of the research program ‘BINT,’ which studies varieties of capitalism and changes over time in national business systems. Keetie is past-president of the EBHA and a member of the advisory editorial board of the journals Business History and Business History Review.

About the Series

Routledge International Studies in Business History

Recent years have seen an explosion of research in business history. Business history is now seen variously as a key to understanding a vital aspect of the past, a source of parallels and insights into modern business practice, and a way of understanding the evolution of modern business practice. This series is not limited to any single approach, and explores a wide range of issues and industries.

Authors wishing to submit proposals for publication consideration in the Routledge International Studies in Business History series can contact series editors Jeffrey Fear ( and Christina Lubinski (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Comparative
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate & Business History
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business