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This book examines a central element of social welfare, old age security, exploring the history of policies in both developed and underdeveloped countries to assess their structure, ideology and effectiveness. The authors test five theoretical perspectives on old-age security policy in four industrial nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany) and three developing countries (India, Nigeria, Brazil), challenging the view that old age policy is the outcome of class conflict between capital and labour. Instead, the authors adopt a neo-pluralist perspective which emphasizes the influence of ethnic religious and regional groups, as well as "the grey lobby", over that of class-based groups. The authors attempt to test ideas derived in part from these historical case studies by analysing quantitative data from a broader sample of countries (18 industrial nationa and 32 developing nations), and they use these results to anticipate future policy developments in the U.S.