Gray Agendas

Interest Groups and Public Pensions in Canada, Britain, and the United States
Henry J. Pratt
Explores the reciprocal relationship between public policy and special interest groups for the elderly


Gray Agendas presents a ground-breaking, cross-national study into the complex and interdependent relationship between public policy and the interest groups of the aged. Canada, Britain, and the United States are examined and compared. This book provides a unique, in-depth understanding of how public policies have sparked the creation of organized senior citizen groups, which in turn, through their intensified political clout, have been able to shape subsequent public policy.

The book begins with a historical perspective on the state's role in the lives of the aged and the indirect consequences of various policies on the elderly population, including most specifically, age group mobilization. Later, consideration is given to widespread economic, social, and ideological changes in age policy, and the effect that new interest group formation had and continues to have upon these changes. The final chapters are concerned with current issues surrounding the present density of organized age based activity, and the effects of transformed state policy on the future of interest groups for the aged.

The unique topic of Gray Agendas will prove interesting not only to those interested in the fields of sociology, history, and political science, but also will help fill the gap of scholarly information on issues concerning the elderly's organizations, proving invaluable to those interested in social gerontology and related areas of study.

Praise / Awards

  • "This book outlines a surprising convergence not explainable by traditional pressure group models among the public pension policies and systems of interest groups dealing with these policies in the United States, Canada, and Britain. Pratt's research significantly enlarges our understanding of the role of interest groups in these three countries. This book deserves a wide reading among political scientists and everyone concerned about public policies dealing with aging."
    —Andrew McFarland, University of Illinois
  • "Henry Pratt has produced a fascinating and timely comparative study of the formation and development of interest groups. His study is of central importance to our understanding of the politics of pensions policy and to our understanding of interest group behaviour more generally."
    —Jeremy Richardson, European Public Policy Institute
  • "Henry Pratt long ago established himself as a leading scholar and innovative analyst of the politics of the elderly. Now, just at the right time, he returns to apply his wisdom and maturity to the upcoming crisis in the relationship between the elderly and the welfare state, in the U.S., Great Britain and Canada."
    —Theodore Lowi, Cornell University
  • "This is a rich and stimulating study and will be valuable to anyone concerned with how government policy concerning older people is formed and to those primarily interested in the role of interest groups in this or any other field."
    Ageing & Society
  • ". . . a valuable contribution to the interest-group literature since it attempts to identify the value of competing interest-group models."
    Canadian Journal of Political Science
  • "A solid contribution both to interest group studies and gerontology."
  • ". . . lucid and helpful . . ."
  • ". . . an admirable and detailed cross-national analysis of the interdependent relationship between interest groups for the elderly and public policy. . . . Grey Agendas breaks new ground in comparative social policy research on the elderly and sheds light on public policy more generally."
    Social Policy

Look Inside


Abbreviations - xi

1. Introduction - 1
2. First Phase, Part One: Barriers to Policy Innovation - 19
3. First Phase, Part Two: Foreign Models, Domestic Disseminators - 29
4. Second Phase: Organizational Disincentives and the Dismal Years - 53
5. Third Phase: Universal Benefits, Universal Organizations - 75
6. Scope for Governmental Choice at a Point of Transition - 99
7. Phase Four in Britain - 117
8. Phase Four in Canada - 147
9. Phase Four in the United States - 171
10. Conclusion - 201

Bibliography - 225
Index - 235

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 256pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1994
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10430-7

Add to Cart
  • $89.95 U.S.