TO MY READERS:
My hope and preference would of course be that this book be read from cover to cover. Nonetheless, different readers will approach it with different interests, and may benefit from some guidance as to how best to pursue those interests through the book.
The essential arguments and finding of the book are presented in the introductory and concluding chapters, which should be read by all. Relying solely on those chapters would serve the more casual reader. But that approach would require the reader to take on faith the evidence in support of those arguments and conclusions as laid out in the intervening chapters. The nature of the argument I present and the methodology I use requires the presentation of a comprehensive, essentially narrative treatment of the decision-making process in each case.
Students of comparative politics and public policy, especially those interested in the dynamics of policy change are directed to the overview (Chapter 1), the elaboration of the theoretical frameworks (Chapters 2 and 10) and the summing-up (Chapter 11), and are advised to pursue the cases in Chapters 3 and 4, and Chapters 5-9 selectively as suggested by particular points they wish to pursue.
Students of the welfare state will want to pay particular attention to Chapter 1, to the discussion of the defining features of welfare-state policy frameworks in Chapter 2, to the theory and evidence of institutional entrepreneurialism in Chapter 10 and to the discussion of the implications of market-oriented reforms and the hybridization of the health care state in Chapter 11.
Students of comparative health policy would be well advised to read the entire book. Those with an interest in the health care politics of a particular nation should read Chapters 1 and 11, as well as those chapters dealing with the nation of interest. Those especially interested in market-oriented reforms will be drawn to Chapters 5-8 and Chapter 10.
Policy-makers and practitioners should find of interest Chapters 1 and 11, as well as the discussion of the activity of institutional entrepreneurs in Chapter 10. Those interested in drawing lessons from other nations of interest should consult the chapters on the relevant national cases.
The Table of Contents and a preview of the book are available here.