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Lessons from Europe? What Can Americans Learn from European Public Policies
Lessons from Europe? What Can Americans Learn from European Public Policies
Edited by R. Daniel Kelemen
CQ Press, 2014, 240 pp
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This book sets out to explore what the United States could learn about public policy from European countries. European models are increasingly cited in American public debates, often as negative examples in ideologically polarized discussions. This group of distinguished authors seeks more sober conclusions, grounded in empirical evidence. They examine rules relating to issues of work-family balance, labor-market regulations, climate change policy, urban transport, election law, pensions, and immigration. Three lessons stand out. First, Europe is a continent of extreme diversity, and so a single European model rarely exists. Second, in all but the last two areas, plenty of European policy solutions exist that the United States could learn positive lessons from. Third, although some might criticize the entire notion of learning from Europe on the ground that the United States is “exceptional,” much of the distinctiveness of the United States results from policy choices and political institutions that could be reformed, should Americans desire better outcomes from their government.