Throughout a career as a government employee with the U.S. Social Security Administration, as a research analyst with the International Social Security Association, and as a teacher at the University of Iowa, I have had great fortune in working with and for individuals who have been more than generous in giving of their time and effort to attempt to instruct me in the basic skills of understanding social welfare policies in a cross-national context. Theirs has not been an easy task and they have been most tolerant of my frequent requests for guidance and assistance. I can only hope that this book speaks well of their good counsel. Readers are advised that whatever errors of judgment or content that may occur in the text do not necessarily reflect the opinions or instructions of my mentors or collaborators.
I wish to acknowledge a number of friends and colleagues, from whom I have learned much and to whom I owe more, who have been instrumental in laying the foundation for this study. These include Max Horlick, former Chief of the Comparative Studies Staff of the U.S. Social Security Administration and currently an editor of International Benefits Information Service (IBIS); the late Christine Cockburn, past Director of the Research Section of the International Social Security Association; Vladimir Rys, Secretary-General of the International Social Security Association; Professor Richard Merritt, Political Science Department of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; and Merlin Taber, School of Social Work at the University of Illinois.