This report contains a comparison of the Dutch childcare allowance affair with strikingly similar cases in Australia and Norway. It includes lessons to reduce chances of systemic failure and tunnel vision.
International case comparison social security scandals
The Dutch childcare allowance scandal has had a huge impact on the trust of the citizens in the government. However, this social security scandal is not unique. In the same period there have been similar occurrences in Australia and Norway. In this article the three cases are dissected and compared.
The examined cases show major similarities: the scandals went on for years and have greatly scarred already vulnerable victims. There is not one guilty actor to be pointed towards, however there is a systematic weakness in which all involved stakeholders bear a responsibility. The political climate and the wish to prevent (benefit) fraud with public means, led to unlawful policies and execution hereof.
Possible explaining factors for this government failure are:
- a perverse window of opportunity (Kingdon, 1995)
- a disconnect between policy and implementation,
- an economic assumption regarding calculating citizens from the management philosophy New Public Management and
- the importance of legitimacy for the purpose of solidarity as a necessary prerequisite of the welfare state.
Date: November 2022
Research institute: ICTU
Researcher(s): Zoë Rouwhorst