Since the 1980s, three periods of reform can be distinguished in the Netherlands, as is also the case in many OECD member countries. The 1980s were years of "receding government". Policies in these years were inspired by the theory of supply‐side
economics that emphasised the burden of large government on society and the adverse effects of high tax levels on economic growth. These were the years of the Reagan administration in the United States, of the Thatcher government in the United Kingdom, and of the "no‐nonsense"
cabinets of Prime Minister Lubbers in the Netherlands. In this period, the spending review procedure was developed and the "grand operations" (see below) had a far‐reaching impact on the size and structure of government.