• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

What can American policymakers learn from the experiences of European democracies in confronting our common policy challenges? We can look to our own history and to the ideas emanating from our own public sphere, but by looking abroad, we can learn how our European allies have dealt with such issues as rising healthcare and pension costs, large-scale immigration, childcare and work-life balance, and climate change. Simply put, we can learn lessons from European policies that have proven both successful and from approaches that have failed. The contributors in this volume ask whether such policies might prove effective in the U.S. context, as well as what pitfalls we might avoid. Chapters have been written by policy area experts and are geared for an upper-level undergraduate audience and set up as a series of engaging case studies. At just 180 pages, this is an ideal supplemental volume for comparative public policy courses and would add an ideal comparative component to upper-level U.S. public policy courses.

Pensions: Who is Learning from whom?
Pensions: Who is learning from whom?
Mitchell A. Orenstein

As the United States (US) faces a massive fiscal crisis and reevaluates its spending on entitlement programs including Social Security, it seems relevant to ask whether the United States can learn from the experiences of other developed countries addressing similar issues (Orenstein 2009; Skocpol 1995; Weaver 2005). Are there lessons from Europe?

In a broad sense, European pension systems mainly provide negative lessons of what not to do. The generous European pension systems that were built up in many countries since the late nineteenth century have been in crisis for years and have been forced to cut back. Many of these systems offered very high income-replacement rates, aiming not only to ...

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