Ever wondered why the U.S. has no universal paid parental leaves, and expects young, hard-pressed families to pay for childcare? Professor Boling’s recent book, The Politics of Work-Family Policies: Comparing Japan, France, Germany and the United States, will help you understand these questions. She argues that the dominant approach to comparing work-family policies, which assumes that countries can emulate the work-family policies pursued by generous welfare states like France and Sweden, is based on wishful thinking.
In fact, Boling argues, the range of motion a country can develop with respect to political or policy approaches is limited by historical and institutional forces that are not easy to overcome. The center of her comparison is Japan, which has experimented with work-family policies since the mid-1990s. Boling offers a bracing analysis of policy failure in Japan, as well as readable, smart chapters on Germany, France and the U.S.Her book contributes to comparative social policy by connecting the success or failure of work-family policies to the structure of labor markets and long-standing policy repertoires.
Associate Professor Patricia A. Boling, Ph.D. is the Undergraduate Chair in the Department of Political Science.