public policy essay

Financial support to those who care for elderly family members (as in Germany and the Netherlands) vs. Subsidies for professional elder care assistance (as in Japan)


In your paper, give a detailed description of each of the two policies. Your description should be based on some combination of the way these policies have been implemented outside the United States, the way they have been implemented in parts of the US (if applicable), and policy proposals made by advocates and scholars. When applicable, you are encouraged to describe more than one option for each program (for example, gender-neutral parental leave vs. separate mother and father allotments).

A minimum of five sources are required.

After describing each policy, write a discussion section in which you address two questions. First, which policy do you deem preferable to enact at the national (federal) level in the United States, and why? Second, what are the chances such a policy can be enacted?

The paper should be 6-9 pages. The minimum page count is more important than the maximum. The discussion section at the end should take up about two of those pages, with the rest dedicated to detailed description of the policies.

Starting points for outside research on work-family policies

The Web site of the Work and Family Researchers Network, or WFRN is a good starting point for research into all of the above policies ( From the “Resources” link in the menu near the top of the home page, you can access a variety of content.

  • The Work and Family Commons is an archived of published and unpublished research on work-life issues. It is possible to browse by topic, and to select research tagged with a variety of keywords, including some that are relevant to this assignment (leave, dependent care…). It can also be searched.
  • The WFRN site also houses the archive of the Sloan Network, an earlier repository which is very useful, despite not being updated since 2011. The Policy Briefs might be of particular interest.

Boston College’s Center for Work and Family has a repository of research reports aimed at executives and policymakers ( Among other things, the global work-life section offers excellent reports about policies in selected nations.

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