Social risk protection in collective agreements: Evidence from the Netherlands

Mara Yerkes*, Kea Tijdens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To what extent can collective bargaining compensate for a decline in or absence of welfare state protection against social risks? In this article, we use a comprehensive collective agreement database to analyse social risk coverage in the Netherlands from 1995 to 2009. We compare two forms of social risk, disability and work-life arrangements, analysing the share of collective agreements that offer these arrangements across time. Our results show that collective bargaining differs across the public and private sector but is similar at different levels of bargaining. In general, our findings demonstrate that collective agreements often compensate for declining welfare state coverage or a lack of state provision. As a result, the findings presented here suggest occupational welfare, in the form of collective bargaining, is an important component of welfare provision that is oftentimes overlooked in the current welfare state literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-383
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Industrial Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • collective bargaining
  • social risks
  • the Netherlands
  • welfare


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