In 2023, Routledge will publish my book
The Political Economy of Immigration in The Netherlands: Population, Land and Welfare
The book starts with the history of The Netherlands: geological and cultural formation of the land (and the waters) and population development. The Netherlands is special as much of the land is man made, in particular the economically most developed western part. It is also special for its very high population growth rate that took off during the 19th century.
The key argument of the book is that population size is irrelevant for income per capita, that land is a binding constraint in The Netherlands and that negative external effects of increasing population size lead to welfare losses from further population growth, whether by natural growth or by immigration. Apart from a brief period of stimulation of emigration (the early 1950’s) there has never been an explicit population policy. The massive immigration after the 1960’s has not been the subject of honest, open and dispassionate policy debates and the actual developments have barely been foreseen by policy makers. At present, the battle for scarce land is intense and bitter, with a strong clash between developers who want to build houses, farmers who do not want to give up farming and conservationists who increasingly find support in the courts for insufficiently caring for the natural environment. Socially accepted political consensus is as yet not in sight.