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Although it is well-known that administration of social security is a sensitive political issue, the great variety of this type of administration makes it difficult for researchers to seek meaningful patterns that can lead to useful knowledge. Fortunately, this book takes an important step in the approach to the problem. Its focus is on the role of non-public actors – primarily social partners (employers’ organizations and trade unions), employers, and private bodies (e.g., insurance companies and funds) – in determining the content, decision-making, and supervision of social security schemes. The editors asked a group of well-qualified researchers from countries of varying types of social security and welfare systems to describe and analyse the role of non-public actors in their national systems from a comparative point of view. The countries covered are Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain, and the United States. Administration of benefits for old age, sickness and disability, unemployment, and health care is studied, with an overall interest in the relationships between the involvement of non-public actors, the state, and the insured or covered persons. The pattern that appears sheds new light on such elements as the following: