Power and Policy in Liberal Democracies

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Why has Japan found it easier than the United States to pursue a consistent industrial policy? Why does Britain provide health care collectively whereas France relies on private provision? Why is the American government unable to ensure the safety of its citizens whereas personal safety is not even an issue in Japan? Such questions are central to the study of comparative public politics and this textbook, first published in 1992, seeks to answer them by integrating policy analysis with mainstream comparative politics. The authors examine power and policy in four liberal democracies: France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. They provide an introduction to the politics of these four leading democracies, setting out the actors, arenas and agendas of policy in each country. The following sections explore four contrasting areas of policy: industrial, health, ethnic minorities and law and order. In the final part these countries and sectors are discussed from the perspectives of policy implementation, evaluation and comparison.