The Roots of American Exceptionalism: Institutions, Culture, and Policies

Paperback | December 15, 2011

byCharles Lockhart

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How do United States public policies differ from those of other wealthy democracies?  Why do they differ?  The Roots of American Exceptionalism draws on societies' unique histories, distinctive paths of institutional development and contrasting cultures to explain why they adopt different policies for common problems. It compares the United States with Sweden on tax policy, Canada on financing medical care, France on abortion policy, and Japan on immigration. The book shows that American public policies across these four areas fit a pattern of embodying the fundamental beliefs and value priorities of a particular culture: individualism. And while American public policies are rational from this cultural perspective, the relative strengths and weaknesses of this culturally-constrained rationality are contrasted with those of alternative, more egalitarian and/or hierarchical, culturally-constrained rationalities which prevail in Sweden, Canada, France and Japan.

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How do United States public policies differ from those of other wealthy democracies?  Why do they differ?  The Roots of American Exceptionalism draws on societies' unique histories, distinctive paths of institutional development and contrasting cultures to explain why they adopt different policies for common problems. It compares the U...

Charles Lockhart is a professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:294 pages, 9.1 × 5.61 × 0.64 inPublished:December 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230116760

ISBN - 13:9780230116764

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Table of Contents

Introduction * Tax Regimes in the United States and Sweden * Financing Medical Care in the United States and Canada * Abortion Policy in the United States and France * Immigration and Citizenship in the United States and Japan * Conclusions * Update from the Perspective of 2011

Editorial Reviews

"This ambitious book is an ideal text for undergraduate and graduate courses in comparative politics, public policy, and American politics in comparative perspective. Lockhart offers a judicious appraisal of the complex factors that have produced nationally distinct policies and constrain innovative responses to new problems and crises."--Gary P. Freeman, University of Texas"This is a very good, original, and interesting comparison of crucial and topical governmental policies that should appeal to students and produce productive discussions. The case chapters are excellent and provide a wealth of material. The analysis is crisp, and the writing is engaging."--Paul Manuel, Saint Anselm College"Charles Lockhart is one of the leading scholars in the world today in the field of political culture. In a study that contrasts the United States with Sweden, Canada, France and Japan, he explores how history, institutions and culture interact to produce distinctive national policies in the areas of taxation, medical care, abortion and immigration. The result is a provocative tour de force that breathes new life into the comparative study of social policies."--Richard W. Wilson, Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University"Lockhart presents a clearly written account of a complex problem--how and why American social policies differ from those of other industrial states.  In doing so, he offers a convincing demonstration of the utility of grid-group theory in addressing the role of culture in social causation."--Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University