Politics of the Low Countries

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Ruling the Dutch Tax Haven: How the United States Drove the Rise and Fall of the Ruling Practice of the Netherlands

Trefwoorden corporate taxation, tax competition, historical institutionalism, globalisation, tax rulings
Auteurs Diederik Stadig

    Until recently, the Netherlands was one of the world’s largest tax havens. A key factor in the country’s fiscal appeal was its ruling practice, which was created as a result of the Marshall aid in 1945. The ruling practice has remained mostly stable since its foundation: it underwent incremental reforms in the 1990s and 2000s, but radical reforms in the 2010s. This article seeks to explain this stability and radical change. To do so, it turns to theories on the role of ideas and institutional path dependence. It finds that the tolerance of the US for aggressive tax policies by small states was an important precondition for the stability of the Dutch ruling practice. When this tolerance disappeared in the 2010s, the Netherlands was forced to reform its ruling practice. Thus, the agency of political actors may be overestimated and the structuring role of institutions and the international context downplayed.

Diederik Stadig
Diederik Stadig, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Appraising Measurements of Affective Polarisation in Multiparty Systems: Comparative Insights from the Low Countries

Trefwoorden affective polarisation, multiparty systems, operationalisations, comparative research
Auteurs Jochem Vanagt

    Affective polarisation is increasingly viewed as a threat to democratic societies. However, the lack of consensus on measurement approaches hinders our understanding. This study assesses the concurrent validity of several affective polarisation measurements, challenging existing US-centric measurement approaches and advocating for a more nuanced understanding tailored to Europe’s diverse multiparty contexts. It leverages data from Belgium and the Netherlands (N = 2,174), two ideal-type multiparty systems to test various measurements of affective polarisation. Its novelty arrives from its examination of like-dislike and social distance measures in conjunction with social avoidance and out-group dislike. The findings reveal that while these measurements share common drivers, their outcomes differ substantially. Only out-group dislike and social distance are linked to decreased satisfaction with democracy, whereas affective polarisation as the difference between in- and out-group affect seems to stimulate voting intentions. Hence, this study cautions researchers against interchangeably using different measurements.

Jochem Vanagt
Jochem Vanagt, KU Leuven & University of Antwerp, ORCID: Email: