The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

American Exceptionalism

  • Louise C. Keely
Reference work entry


‘American exceptionalism’ refers to significant differences between the United States and Western Europe, first identified by European commentators in the 19th century, including the circumstances surrounding the founding and settlement of the United States, as well as a concept of nationhood based on immigration rather than a shared history. Economists have contributed in important ways to the documentation and evaluation of exceptionalism’s economic effects. One important example of this research is on contemporary differences in social policy between the United States and Western Europe.


American exceptionalism Crime De tocqueville, a. Equality of Opportunity Fertility Higher Education Individualism Inequality International Migration Productivity Racism Redistribution Religion Slavery Socialism Trade Unions Voluntarism Western Europe Workfare 

JEL Classifications

D6 D7 E6 H00 J00 P52 E61 H11 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise C. Keely
    • 1
  1. 1.