Pragmatic Privatisation: The Netherlands 1982-2002

TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2004-007

56 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2005

See all articles by Eric van Damme

Eric van Damme

TILEC and CentER, Tilburg University

Date Written: June 2004


This paper describes the privatisation and deregulation programs in the Netherlands during the period 1982-2002, that is, under the governments headed by Lubbers (1982-1994) and Kok (1994-2002). The paper explains that the Dutch define privatisation as "making use of private interests and market forces", which differs from the international convention, but it discusses both forms of "privatisation". It describes the general frameworks that have guided Dutch policy (essentially: privatise whenever this does not jeopardise the public interests) and shows that actual policy deviated considerably from the official line. By means of a detailed discussion of various network sectors (post and telecommunications, energy and public transport) it is shown that issues of market design and transition management received insufficient attention. Also remarkable is the lack of detailed empirical studies of the effects of the various policies pursued.

JEL Classification: L3, L4, L9

Suggested Citation

van Damme, Eric E.C., Pragmatic Privatisation: The Netherlands 1982-2002 (June 2004). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2004-007, Available at SSRN: or

Eric E.C. Van Damme (Contact Author)

TILEC and CentER, Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
+31 13 466 3045 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3066 (Fax)

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