WRR takes up theme of the Netherlands in an ageing world

The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) has added the project The Netherlands in an Ageing World to its work programme. In this project, the WRR studies the implications of ageing worldwide for the structure of the Dutch economy, labour market, macro policy and pensions. What policies do we need to put in place to respond to the risks and opportunities arising from worldwide ageing? What action can the Dutch government take?

Enlarge image visual nw advisory project
Image: ©WRR

In the coming years, the number of elderly people worldwide will increase rapidly relative to the number of people of working age. Ageing in countries with which the Netherlands has close economic ties will inevitably affect global patterns of trade, migration and specialization. I turn, these factors will affect the structure of the Dutch economy and labour market.

This project explores the implications for the Netherlands and for Dutch policies.

Meeting on product mix in an ageing world

Last autumn, as part of this project, the WRR organized a high-level meeting of experts and policy makers on The labour market, pensions and product mix in an ageing world. Ageing societies have a greater need for services, especially in the care sector, and many of these services are labour intensive. At the same time, population ageing causes an increasing scarcity of labour. Countries which have accumulated large pension assets, such as the Netherlands, may be able to gear their economies towards these services and import (industrial) products more readily than countries with pay-as-you-go systems. Ageing abroad will also have a direct effect on the availability of labour and the demand for Dutch products, with a knock-on effect for the specialization patterns of our economy. This shift in the economy’s ‘product mix’ may in turn have an impact on education, training, upskilling and lifelong learning.

In her introduction, Yvonne Adema (programme leader at the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) highlighted factors that will determine the Netherlands’ future product mix. Marcel Timmer (Professor of Economic Growth and Development at the University of Groningen) then explored international trade and specialization patterns in an ageing world. Finally, Eric Bartelsman (Professor of Economics at VU Amsterdam) focused on specialization patterns in the Dutch economy and labour market, and the extent to which policy can and should influence these patterns.

About the work programme

The WRR’s mission is to proivdethe Dutch government and parliament with scientific and independent advice on developments that may affect society in the long term. The WRR draws the attention of the government to potential future conflicts and difficulties, defines major policy problems and suggests policy alternatives. To achieve a high-quality work programme, the WRR acquires input from government, policymakers, politicians, academics and representatives of civil society