INTRODUCTION Devolution and Aging Policy
Around the world, the ground rules are being questioned about the role of national governments in addressing domestic needs. During the twentieth century in countries throughout the world, central governments assumed major responsibilities for a wide variety of human needs. Whether the concern was income security, health, housing, or education, interventions were premised upon convictions that a strong public sector role was essential and that major involvement of national governments was needed. The role of national governments in these initiatives varied greatly. In some instances, national governments carried full responsibility, from financing to service administration. In other in-
stances, the role of national governments is limited with other entities carrying major responsibilities. In some cases, the role of national governments was limited, for example, to financing and regulation, with regional governments, local governments, private organizations, and even private individuals carrying other responsibilities. In other cases, the role of national governments has been limited to nurturing innovation and dissemination of information. In these cases, national governments help to find solutions to problems but expect that other levels of government or private organizations will solve the problems.