Chapter 8: How much of US exceptionalism is still left in the ‘Europeanized’ USA?
During the 1980s and 1990s, and even in the first years of the present century, it was popular, or even fashionable, to point to different economic and social developments in the USA and Western Europe. The books by Alesina and Giavazzi and by Gersemann mentioned in Chapter 7 are just a small sample from among many. And, apart from writings by authors of collectivist (socialist, welfarist – you name it) preferences, the differences were seen to be largely in the USA’s favor. To begin with, economic growth in the USA during the period in question was higher than that in major West European economies. More importantly, economic growth in the USA was generating much greater employment benefits than in Europe. With GDP growth rate differentials to the tune of 0.5–1.0 percent annually, employment differentials were significantly larger: 1.5–2.0 percent annually in the USA and 0.6 percent in ‘old’ EU countries (0.7 percent annually in Germany).
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