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Arco Timmermans Discusses Secondary Schools and the BIK on Dutch Radio BNR Lobbypanel

The RED team, a group of independent experts, has advised the Dutch government to close down all (secondary) schools. It is a difficult balance the government has to find between limiting the number of contagions and the social consequences of closing down the schools. As a result of the first lockdown many students suffered from social isolation and depression.

'There are a great many possible solutions between the situation as it is now and closing down the schools', says Arco Timmermans, Professor by special appointment Public Affairs at the Institute of Public Administration of Leiden University. Containing the risk of contagion can be achieved by completely shutting down all schools, but it is yet to be seen if that is what the government wants. It can also be done by a phased implementation of measures. 'I believe that a compromise can be found between completely shutting down the schools and keeping the schools open,' says Timmermans. 'It may be different for universities and other educational institutions. I, myself, have been able teach two Public Affairs classes in an auditorium where social distancing is easy to maintain. What students get up to when they're at home, in their students houses, however, is something we don't know.' 


The government is stimulating companies to make investments with a new investment rebate, the 'Baangerelateerde Investeringskorting' (BIK), a job-related investment rebate. This temporary arrangement enables companies to keep investing in these troubling times. Companies can use the investment rebate to reduce their payroll tax. 

Research by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), shows that the BIK results a limited amount of investments, but that the BIK does have more effect than lowering the profit tax. 'The report of the CPB was well timed,' says Timmermans. 'The government is busy discussing additional support packages. Policy makers are now able to make better policies using new insights. However, I don't think that the BIK will have a big positive impact on the investments. For most companies, I think it is more about the future prospects. 

Listen to the entire segment (in Dutch) on the website of BNR Radio

Prof. dr. Arco Timmermans' teaching for the Institute of Public Administration is about public policy in the Netherlands and the EU, interest representation and public affairs, for example in the mastertrack Public Affairs. Arco Timmermans' research is on the dynamics of the public and political agenda. He analyzes how interest groups play the game of obtaining or avoiding public and political atention, how they form lobbycoalitions, and how they find access to venues for influence. This teaching and research work also is oriented to promoting the dialogue between research and practice, by guest lectures, master classes and commenting on news items.

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