Hartwig, Ines. (2003) "Path dependency in employment policy? Comparing EU and U.S. experiences". In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, TN. (Unpublished)
A comparison between the fundamental principles of employment policy in the EU and the U.S. quickly reveals a fundamentally different value base. Whereas the U.S. is strongly guided by the individualist tradition that stresses equal opportunities rather than public tasks, the EU - despite many differences between its member states- perceives employment or welfare policy predominantly as a public task. In spite of these deeply rooted differences, the respective financial instruments to pursue active labour market policy or workforce development are based on similar sets of principles. In spite of a number of differences in terms of their material scope, both the U.S. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the EU Structural Funds are implemented on the basis of similar governing principles, namely, programming and effectiveness. The paper will compare the implementation of these principles in the U.S. and the EU. Based on the concept of institutional stickiness and path dependency, it will analyse the potential and prospects of mutual learning processes.
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