Stability by change - the changing public-private mix in social welfare provision in China and the Netherlands

Cor van Montfort, Li Sun, Ying Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The topic of social welfare provision is currently drawing a lot of attention in both the Netherlands and China. Both governments are considering a new division between the responsibilities of the state, the individual citizen and the market. Both countries find themselves having to develop new socially and financially sustainable systems of social welfare provision. From the angle of the public-private mix, this article seeks to discuss the institutional evolution of systems of social welfare provision in the Netherlands and China, with a focus on health care, social housing and pension provision/elderly care.

The public-private mix refers to four distinguishable 'levels' which can be identified in the public-private dimension: systems, organizations, partnerships and values. Despite the cultural differences, the long history of a mixed public -private tradition in the Netherlands could prove a source of inspiration in the Chinese context in several different ways. Firstly, the combination of an active government and an active private sector (civil society and private companies). Secondly, a welfare system that is highly regulated by the government. And thirdly a bottom-up approach, which favours negotiations and puts more emphasis on the processes, and in which projects take longer to plan and execute but that also creates support and legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-437
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of chinese governance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • The Netherlands
  • social welfare
  • public-private arrangements
  • hybrid organizations


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