front cover of Actively Seeking Work?
Actively Seeking Work?
The Politics of Unemployment and Welfare Policy in the United States and Great Britain
Desmond King
University of Chicago Press, 1995
Why have both Great Britain and the United States been unable to create effective training and work programs for the unemployed? Desmond King contends that the answer lies in the liberal political origins of these programs. Integrating extensive, previously untapped archival and documentary materials with an analysis of the sources of political support for work-welfare programs, King shows that policymakers in both Great Britain and the United States have tried to achieve conflicting goals through these programs.

The goal of work-welfare policy in both countries has been to provide financial aid, training, and placement services for the unemployed. In order to muster support for these programs, however, work-welfare programs had to incorporate liberal requirements that they not interfere with private market forces, and that they prevent the "undeserving" from obtaining benefits. For King, the attempt to integrate these incompatible functions is the defining feature of British and American policies as well as the cause of their failure.
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America’s Struggle against Poverty in the Twentieth Century
Enlarged Edition
James T. Patterson
Harvard University Press, 2000
This new edition of Patterson's widely used book carries the story of battles over poverty and social welfare through what the author calls the "amazing 1990s," those years of extraordinary performance of the economy. He explores a range of issues arising from the economic phenomenon--increasing inequality and demands for use of an improved poverty definition. He focuses the story on the impact of the highly controversial welfare reform of 1996, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democratic President Clinton, despite the laments of anguished liberals.
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Basic Income
A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy
Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght
Harvard University Press, 2017

“Powerful as well as highly engaging—a brilliant book.”
—Amartya Sen


A Times Higher Education Book of the Week

It may sound crazy to pay people whether or not they’re working or even looking for work. But the idea of providing an unconditional basic income to everyone, rich or poor, active or inactive, has long been advocated by such major thinkers as Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill, and John Kenneth Galbraith. Now, with the traditional welfare state creaking under pressure, it has become one of the most widely debated social policy proposals in the world. Basic Income presents the most acute and fullest defense of this radical idea, and makes the case that it is our most realistic hope for addressing economic insecurity and social exclusion.

“They have set forth, clearly and comprehensively, what is probably the best case to be made today for this form of economic and social policy.”
—Benjamin M. Friedman, New York Review of Books

“A rigorous analysis of the many arguments for and against a universal basic income, offering a road map for future researchers.”
Wall Street Journal

“What Van Parijs and Vanderborght bring to this topic is a deep understanding, an enduring passion and a disarming optimism.”
—Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

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Blaming the Poor
The Long Shadow of the Moynihan Report on Cruel Images about Poverty
Greenbaum, Susan D
Rutgers University Press, 2015
In 1965, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan—then a high-ranking official in the Department of Labor—sparked a firestorm when he released his report “The Negro Family,” which came to be regarded by both supporters and detractors as an indictment of African American culture. Blaming the Poor examines the regrettably durable impact of the Moynihan Report for race relations and social policy in America, challenging the humiliating image the report cast on poor black families and its misleading explanation of the causes of poverty.
 
A leading authority on poverty and racism in the United States, Susan D. Greenbaum dismantles Moynihan’s main thesis—that the so called matriarchal structure of the African American family “feminized” black men, making them inadequate workers and absent fathers, and resulting in what he called a tangle of pathology that led to a host of ills, from teen pregnancy to adult crime. Drawing on extensive scholarship, Greenbaum highlights the flaws in Moynihan’s analysis. She reveals how his questionable ideas have been used to redirect blame for substandard schools, low wages, and the scarcity of jobs away from the societal forces that cause these problems, while simultaneously reinforcing stereotypes about African Americans. Greenbaum also critiques current policy issues that are directly affected by the tangle of pathology mindset—the demonization and destruction of public housing; the criminalization of black youth; and the continued humiliation of the poor by entrepreneurs who become rich consulting to teachers, non-profits, and social service personnel.  
 
A half century later, Moynihan’s thesis remains for many a convenient justification for punitive measures and stingy indifference to the poor. Blaming the Poor debunks this infamous thesis, proposing instead more productive and humane policies to address the enormous problems facing us today.
 
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Both Hands Tied
Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom in the Low-Wage Labor Market
Jane L. Collins and Victoria Mayer
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Both Hands Tied studies the working poor in the United States, focusing in particular on the relation between welfare and low-wage earnings among working mothers. Grounded in the experience of thirty-three women living in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, it tells the story of their struggle to balance child care and wage-earning in poorly paying and often state-funded jobs with inflexible schedules—and the moments when these jobs failed them and they turned to the state for additional aid.

Jane L. Collins and Victoria Mayer here examine the situations of these women in light of the 1996 national Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act and other like-minded reforms—laws that ended the entitlement to welfare for those in need and provided an incentive for them to return to work. Arguing that this reform came at a time of gendered change in the labor force and profound shifts in the responsibilities of family, firms, and the state, Both Hands Tied provides a stark but poignant portrait of how welfare reform afflicted poor, single-parent families, ultimately eroding the participants’ economic rights and affecting their ability to care for themselves and their children.

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Britain's War on Poverty
Jane Waldfogel
Russell Sage Foundation, 2010
In 1999, one in four British children lived in poverty—the third highest child poverty rate among industrialized countries. Five years later, the child poverty rate in Britain had fallen by more than half in absolute terms. How did the British government accomplish this and what can the United States learn from the British experience? Jane Waldfogel offers a sharp analysis of the New Labour government's anti-poverty agenda, its dramatic early success and eventual stalled progress. Comparing Britain's anti-poverty initiative to U.S. welfare reform, the book shows how the policies of both countries have affected child poverty, living standards, and well-being in low-income families and suggests next steps for future reforms. Britain's War on Poverty evaluates the three-pronged anti-poverty strategy employed by the British government and what these efforts accomplished. British reforms sought to promote work and make work pay, to increase financial support for families with children, and to invest in the health, early-life development, and education of children. The latter two features set the British reforms apart from the work-oriented U.S. welfare reforms, which did not specifically target income or program supports for children. Plagued by premature initiatives and what some experts called an overly ambitious agenda, the British reforms fell short of their intended goal but nevertheless significantly increased single-parent employment, raised incomes for low-income families, and improved child outcomes. Poverty has fallen, and the pattern of low-income family expenditures on child enrichment and healthy food has begun to converge with higher-income families. As Waldfogel sees it, further success in reducing child poverty in Britain will rely on understanding who is poor and who is at highest risk. More than half of poor children live in families where at least one parent is working, followed by unemployed single- and two-parent homes, respectively. Poverty rates are also notably higher for children with disabled parents, large families, and for Pakistani and Bangladeshi children. Based on these demographics, Waldfogel argues that future reforms must, among other goals, raise working-family incomes, provide more work for single parents, and better engage high-risk racial and ethnic minority groups. What can the United States learn from the British example? Britain's War on Poverty is a primer in the triumphs and pitfalls of protracted policy. Notable differences distinguish the British and U.S. models, but Waldfogel asserts that a future U.S. poverty agenda must specifically address child poverty and the income inequality that helps create it. By any measurement and despite obstacles, Britain has significantly reduced child poverty. The book's key lesson is that it can be done.
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Brown Saviors and Their Others
Race, Caste, Labor, and the Global Politics of Help in India
Arjun Shankar
Duke University Press, 2023
In Brown Saviors and Their Others Arjun Shankar draws from his ethnographic work with an educational NGO to investigate the practices of “brown saviors”—globally mobile, dominant-caste, liberal Indian and Indian diasporic technocrats who drive India’s help economy. Shankar argues that these brown saviors actually reproduce many of the racialized values and ideologies associated with who and how to help that have been passed down from the colonial period, while masking other operations of power behind the racial politics of global brownness. In India, these operations of power center largely on the transnational labor politics of caste. Ever attentive to moments of discomfort and complicity, Shankar develops a method of “nervous ethnography” to uncover the global racial hierarchies, graded caste stratifications, urban/rural distinctions, and digital panaceas that shape the politics of help in India. Through nervous critique, Shankar introduces a framework for the study of the global help economies that reckons with the ongoing legacies of racial and caste capitalism.
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Building the Invisible Orphanage
Matthew A. Crenson
Harvard University Press, 1998

In 1996, America abolished its long-standing welfare system in favor of a new and largely untried public assistance program. Welfare as we knew it arose in turn from a previous generation's rejection of an even earlier system of aid. That generation introduced welfare in order to eliminate orphanages.

This book examines the connection between the decline of the orphanage and the rise of welfare. Matthew Crenson argues that the prehistory of the welfare system was played out not on the stage of national politics or class conflict but in the micropolitics of institutional management. New arrangements for child welfare policy emerged gradually as superintendents, visiting agents, and charity officials responded to the difficulties that they encountered in running orphanages or creating systems that served as alternatives to institutional care.

Crenson also follows the decades-long debate about the relative merits of family care or institutional care for dependent children. Leaving poor children at home with their mothers emerged as the most generally acceptable alternative to the orphanage, along with an ambitious new conception of social reform. Instead of sheltering vulnerable children in institutions designed to transform them into virtuous citizens, the reformers of the Progressive era tried to integrate poor children into the larger society, while protecting them from its perils.

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Captains of Charity
The Writing and Wages of Postrevolutionary Atlantic Benevolence
Mary Kathleen Eyring
University of New Hampshire Press, 2017
In this thematically rich book, Mary Kathleen Eyring examines authors whose writings were connected with their charitable endeavors, which addressed the worst by-products of the brisk maritime commerce in Atlantic seaport cities in the first half of the nineteenth century. She argues that charitable institutions and societies emerged in this era because they captured and contained the discontent of imperiled and impoverished groups, thereby effectively thwarting the development of a revolutionary class in America.

According to Eyring, the men and women who most successfully wrote about and engaged in benevolent work strategically connected their work with the affluence generated by maritime commerce. The water trades supported the growth of the American publishing industry, but they also generated both vast inequities in wealth and physically and economically hazardous conditions that, in the absence of a welfare state, required the intervention of benevolent societies. Laborers in Atlantic port cities barred from lucrative professions by gender, race, physical ability, or social status found a way to make a living wage by conjoining the literary with the charitable—and attaching both to a profit structure. In so doing, they transformed the nature of American benevolence and gave rise to the nonprofit sector, which has since its inception provided discontented laborers with a forum in which to express their critique of for-profit American enterprise, by imitating it.

In Captains of Charity, Eyring looks at writers who overcame their marginalized status by bringing together the strands of maritime industry, publishing, and benevolence. These include Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, two black clergymen who managed a massive relief effort when refugees fleeing revolution in Haiti transported the yellow fever virus to Philadelphia in 1793; Nancy Prince, a free woman of color who sought her livelihood in the Protestant missions of Jamaica in the years immediately following Britain's emancipation of laborers in its Caribbean colonies; Sarah Josepha Hale, who parlayed the social influence she had gained as the founder of a seaman's aid society in Boston into a role as editor of the hugely popular periodical Godey's Lady's Book; and Sarah Pogson Smith, who donated the proceeds of her writing to such prominent charitable causes as the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and then capitalized on the goodwill this charity work generated among her wealthy friends in New York City, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

Hardcover is un-jacketed.
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Changing Poverty, Changing Policies
Maria Cancian
Russell Sage Foundation, 2009
Poverty declined significantly in the decade after Lyndon Johnson's 1964 declaration of "War on Poverty." Dramatically increased federal funding for education and training programs, social security benefits, other income support programs, and a growing economy reduced poverty and raised expectations that income poverty could be eliminated within a generation. Yet the official poverty rate has never fallen below its 1973 level and remains higher than the rates in many other advanced economies. In this book, editors Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger and leading poverty researchers assess why the War on Poverty was not won and analyze the most promising strategies to reduce poverty in the twenty-first century economy. Changing Poverty, Changing Policies documents how economic, social, demographic, and public policy changes since the early 1970s have altered who is poor and where antipoverty initiatives have kept pace or fallen behind. Part I shows that little progress has been made in reducing poverty, except among the elderly, in the last three decades. The chapters examine how changing labor market opportunities for less-educated workers have increased their risk of poverty (Rebecca Blank), and how family structure changes (Maria Cancian and Deborah Reed) and immigration have affected poverty (Steven Raphael and Eugene Smolensky). Part II assesses the ways childhood poverty influences adult outcomes. Markus Jäntti finds that poor American children are more likely to be poor adults than are children in many other industrialized countries. Part III focuses on current antipoverty policies and possible alternatives. Jane Waldfogel demonstrates that policies in other countries—such as sick leave, subsidized child care, and schedule flexibility—help low-wage parents better balance work and family responsibilities. Part IV considers how rethinking and redefining poverty might take antipoverty policies in new directions. Mary Jo Bane assesses the politics of poverty since the 1996 welfare reform act. Robert Haveman argues that income-based poverty measures should be expanded, as they have been in Europe, to include social exclusion and multiple dimensions of material hardships. Changing Poverty, Changing Policies shows that thoughtful policy reforms can reduce poverty and promote opportunities for poor workers and their families. The authors' focus on pragmatic measures that have real possibilities of being implemented in the United States not only provides vital knowledge about what works but real hope for change.
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Charitable Choice at Work
Evaluating Faith-Based Job Programs in the States
Sheila Suess Kennedy and Wolfgang Bielefeld
Georgetown University Press, 2006

Too often, say its critics, U.S. domestic policy is founded on ideology rather than evidence. Take "Charitable Choice": legislation enacted with the assumption that faith-based organizations can offer the best assistance to the needy at the lowest cost. The Charitable Choice provision of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act—buttressed by President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative of 2000—encouraged religious organizations, including congregations, to bid on government contracts to provide social services. But in neither year was data available to prove or disprove the effectiveness of such an approach.

Charitable Choice at Work fills this gap with a comprehensive look at the evidence for and against faith-based initiatives. Sheila Suess Kennedy and Wolfgang Bielefeld review the movement's historical context along with legal analysis of constitutional concerns including privatization, federalism, and separation of church and state. Using both qualitative and, where possible, statistical data, the authors analyze the performance of job placement programs in three states with a representative range of religious, political, and demographic traits—Massachusetts, Indiana, and North Carolina. Throughout, they focus on measurable outcomes as they compare non-faith-based with faith-based organizations, nonprofits with for-profits, and the logistics of contracting before and after Charitable Choice.

Among their findings: in states where such information is available, the composition of social service contractor pools has changed very little. Reflecting their varied political cultures, states have funded programs differently. Faith-based organizations have not been eager to seek government contracts, perhaps wary of additional legal restraints and reporting burdens.

The authors conclude that faith-based organizations appear no more effective than secular organizations at government-funded social service provision, that there has been no dramatic change in the social welfare landscape since Charitable Choice, and that the constitutional concerns of its detractors may be valid. This empirical study penetrates the fog of the culture wars, moving past controversy over the role of religion in public life to offer pragmatic suggestions for policymakers and organizations who must decide how best to assist the needy.

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Citizens and Paupers
Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen's Bureau to Workfare
Chad Alan Goldberg
University of Chicago Press, 2008
There was a time when America’s poor faced a stark choice between access to social welfare and full civil rights—a predicament that forced them to forfeit their citizenship in exchange for economic relief. Over time, however, our welfare system improved dramatically. But as Chad Alan Goldberg here demonstrates, its legacy of disenfranchisement persisted. Indeed, from Reconstruction onward, welfare policies have remained a flashpoint for recurring struggles over the boundaries of citizenship.

Citizens and Paupers explores this contentious history by analyzing and comparing three major programs: the Freedmen’s Bureau, the Works Progress Administration, and the present-day system of workfare that arose in the 1990s. Each of these overhauls of the welfare state created new groups of clients, new policies for aiding them, and new disputes over citizenship—conflicts that were entangled in racial politics and of urgent concern for social activists.

This combustible mix of racial tension and social reform continues to influence how we think about welfare, and Citizens and Paupers is an invaluable analysis of the roots of the debate.
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Compassion and Responsibility
Readings in the History of Social Welfare Policy in the United States
Frank R. Breul and Steven J. Diner
University of Chicago Press, 1985

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Confronting Poverty
Prescriptions for Change
Sheldon H. Danziger
Harvard University Press, 1994

Why is there so much poverty in America in the 1990s? What can be done to reduce it? In this book the leading experts review three decades of research on the nature, causes, and consequences of poverty, and prescribe an antipoverty agenda for the next decade. The authors document trends in poverty and income inequality, review government programs and policies, and analyze the public’s complicated attitudes concerning these policies. They discuss the persistence and inter-generational transmission of poverty, the extent of welfare dependence, and the emergence of an urban underclass.

Confronting Poverty proposes thoughtful reforms in employment and training, child support, health care, education, welfare, immigration, and urban policies, all crafted from the successes, as well as the failures, of policies over the past three decades. Although antipoverty efforts have been frustrated by slow economic growth, rising inequality, and changes in family structure, the authors offer insightful proposals that will help us resolve the American paradox of “poverty amidst plenty.”

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Containment and Condemnation
Law and the Oppression of the Urban Poor
David Ray Papke
Michigan State University Press, 2019
The populations of American cities have always included poor people, but the predicament of the urban poor has worsened over time. Their social capital, that is, the connections and organizations that traditionally enabled them to form communities, has shredded. Economically comfortable Americans have come to increasingly care less about the plight of the urban poor and to think of them in terms of “us and them.” Considered lazy paupers in the early nineteenth century, the urban poor came to be seen as a violent criminal “underclass” by the end of the twentieth. Living primarily in the nation’s deindustrialized inner cities and making up nearly 15 percent of the population, today’s urban poor are oppressed people living in the midst of American affluence. This book examines how law works for, against, and with regard to the urban poor, with “law” being understood broadly to include not only laws but also legal proceedings and institutions. Law is too complicated and variable to be seen as simply a club used to beat down the urban poor, but it does work largely in negative ways for them. An essential text for both law students and those drawn to areas of social justice, Containment and Condemnation shows how law helps create, expand, and perpetuate contemporary urban poverty.
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The Crisis Imperative
Crisis Rhetoric and Welfare State Reform in Belgium and the Netherlands in the Early 1990s
Sanneke Kuipers
Amsterdam University Press, 2006
Belgium and the Netherlands were perfect examples of the “welfare without work” policy that characterized European welfare states — until a political crisis in both countries during the early 1990s produced a surprising divergence in administration. While Belgium’s government announced major reforms, its social security policy remained relatively resilient. In the Netherlands, however, policymakers implemented unprecedented cutbacks as well as a major overhaul of the disability benefits program. The Crisis Imperative explains this difference as the result of crisis rhetoric—that is, the deliberate construction of a crisis as the imperative for change. It will be a valuable resource for policymakers, researchers, and anyone interested in welfare reform in the United States and abroad.
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Demanding Child Care
Women's Activism and the Politics of Welfare, 1940-1971
Natalie M. Fousekis
University of Illinois Press, 2013

During World War II, as women stepped in to fill jobs vacated by men in the armed services, the federal government established public child care centers in local communities for the first time. When the government announced plans to withdraw funding and terminate its child care services at the end of the war, women in California protested and lobbied to keep their centers open, even as these services rapidly vanished in other states.

Analyzing the informal networks of cross-class and cross-race reformers, policymakers, and educators, Demanding Child Care: Women's Activism and the Politics of Welfare, 1940–1971 traces the rapidly changing alliances among these groups. During the early stages of the childcare movement, feminists, Communists, and labor activists banded together, only to have these alliances dissolve by the 1950s as the movement welcomed new leadership composed of working-class mothers and early childhood educators. In the 1960s, when federal policymakers earmarked child care funds for children of women on welfare and children described as culturally deprived, it expanded child care services available to these groups but eventually eliminated public child care for the working poor.

Deftly exploring the possibilities for partnership as well as the limitations among these key parties, Fousekis helps to explain the barriers to a publically funded comprehensive child care program in the United States.

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Doing Without
Women and Work after Welfare Reform
Edited by Jane Henrici
University of Arizona Press, 2006
The welfare reform legislation enacted in 1996 was applauded by many for the successes it had in dramatically reducing the number of people receiving public assistance, most of whom were women with children. Today, however, more than a decade later, these successes seem far less spectacular. Although the total number of welfare recipients has dropped by more than fifty percent nationwide, evidence shows that poverty has actually deepened. Many hardworking women are no better off for having returned to the workplace.

In Doing Without, Jane Henrici brings together nine contributions to tell the story of welfare reform from inside the lives of the women who live with it. Cases from Chicago and Boston are combined with a focus on San Antonio from one of the largest multi-city investigations on welfare reform ever undertaken. The contributors argue that the employment opportunities available to poorer women, particularly single mothers and ethnic minorities, are insufficient to lift their families out of poverty. Typically marked by variable hours, inadequate wages, and short-term assignments, both employment and training programs fail to provide stability or the kinds of benefits—such as health insurance, sick days, and childcare options—that are necessary to sustain both work and family life. The chapters also examine the challenges that the women who seek assistance, and those who work in public and private agencies to provide it, together must face as they navigate ever-changing requirements and regulations, decipher alterations in Medicaid, and apply for training and education. Contributors urge that the nation should repair the social safety net for women in transition and offer genuine access to jobs with wages that actually meet the cost of living.
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Domestic Contradictions
Race and Gendered Citizenship from Reconstruction to Welfare Reform
Priya Kandaswamy
Duke University Press, 2021
In Domestic Contradictions, Priya Kandaswamy analyzes how race, class, gender, and sexuality shaped welfare practices in the United States alongside the conflicting demands that this system imposed upon Black women. She turns to an often-neglected moment in welfare history, the advent of the Freedmen's Bureau during Reconstruction, and highlights important parallels with welfare reform in the late twentieth century. Kandaswamy demonstrates continuity between the figures of the “vagrant” and “welfare queen” in these time periods, both of which targeted Black women. These constructs upheld gendered constructions of domesticity while defining Black women's citizenship in terms of an obligation to work rather than a right to public resources. Pushing back against this history, Kandaswamy illustrates how the Black female body came to represent a series of interconnected dangers—to white citizenship, heteropatriarchy, and capitalist ideals of productivity —and how a desire to curb these threats drove state policy. In challenging dominant feminist historiographies, Kandaswamy builds on Black feminist and queer of color critiques to situate the gendered afterlife of slavery as central to the historical development of the welfare state.
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The Economics of Poverty Traps
Edited by Christopher B. Barrett, Michael R. Carter, and Jean-Paul Chavas
University of Chicago Press, 2018
What circumstances or behaviors turn poverty into a cycle that perpetuates across generations? The answer to this question carries especially important implications for the design and evaluation of policies and projects intended to reduce poverty. Yet a major challenge analysts and policymakers face in understanding poverty traps is the sheer number of mechanisms—not just financial, but also environmental, physical, and psychological—that may contribute to the persistence of poverty all over the world.

The research in this volume explores the hypothesis that poverty is self-reinforcing because the equilibrium behaviors of the poor perpetuate low standards of living. Contributions explore the dynamic, complex processes by which households accumulate assets and increase their productivity and earnings potential, as well as the conditions under which some individuals, groups, and economies struggle to escape poverty. Investigating the full range of phenomena that combine to generate poverty traps—gleaned from behavioral, health, and resource economics as well as the sociology, psychology, and environmental literatures—chapters in this volume also  present new evidence that highlights both the insights and the limits of a poverty trap lens.

The framework introduced in this volume provides a robust platform for studying well-being dynamics in developing economies. 
 
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Empire State-Building
War and Welfare in Kenya, 1925–1952
Joanna Lewis
Ohio University Press, 2001

This history of administrative thought and practice in colonial Kenya looks at the ways in which white people tried to engineer social change.

It asks four questions:
- Why was Kenya’s welfare operation so idiosyncratic and spartan compared with that of other British colonies?
- Why did a transformation from social welfare to community development produce further neglect of the very poor?
- Why was there no equivalent to the French tradition of community medicine?
- If there was a transformatory element of colonial rule that sought to address poverty, where and why did it fall down?

The answers offer revealing insight into the dynamics of rule in the late colonial period in Kenya.

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Evaluating Welfare and Training Programs
Charles F. Manski
Harvard University Press, 1992

Almost everyone would like to see the enactment of sound, practical measures to help disadvantaged people get off welfare and find jobs at decent wages, and over the past quarter-century federal and state governments have struggled to develop just such programs. How do we know whether they are having the hoped-for effect? How do we know whether these vast outlays of money are helping the people they are designed to reach?

All welfare and training programs have been subject to professional evaluations, including social experiments and demonstrations designed to test new ideas. This book reviews what we have discovered from past assessments and suggests how welfare and training programs should be planned for the 1990s. The authors of this volume, each a recognized expert in the evaluation of social programs, do more than summarize what we have learned so far. They clarify why the issue of the proper conduct and interpretation of evaluations has itself been a subject of continuing controversy. In part, the problem is organizational, requiring the integrated efforts of social scientists, public officials, and the professionals who execute evaluations. In addition, there is a dispute about scientific method: should evaluators try to understand the complex social processes that make programs succeed (or fail), or should they focus on inputs and outputs, treating the programs themselves as “black boxes” whose machinery remains hidden?

Evaluating Welfare and Training Programs will be important for policy researchers and evaluation professionals, social scientists concerned with evaluation methods, public officials working in social policy, and students of public policy, economics, and social work.

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Exclusion and Engagement
Social Policy in Latin America
Edited by Christopher Abel and Colin M. Lewis
University of London Press, 2002

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Faith, Hope, and Jobs
Welfare-to-Work in Los Angeles
Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper
Georgetown University Press, 2006

A front-burner issue on the public policy agenda today is the increased use of partnerships between government and nongovernmental entities, including faith-based social service organizations. In the wake of President Bush's faith-based initiative, many are still wondering about the effectiveness of these faith-based organizations in providing services to those in need, and whether they provide better outcomes than more traditional government, secular nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. In Faith, Hope, and Jobs, Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper study the effectiveness of 17 different welfare-to-work programs in Los Angeles County—a county in which the U.S. government spends 14% of its entire welfare budget—and offer groundbreaking insight into understanding what works and what doesn't.

Monsma and Soper examine client assessment of the programs, their progress in developing attitudes and resources important for finding self-supporting employment, and their experience in finding actual employment. The study reveals that the clients of the more explicitly faith-based programs did best in gaining in social capital and were highly positive in evaluating the religious components of their programs. For-profit programs tended to do the best in terms of their clients finding employment. Overall, the religiously active respondents tended to experience better outcomes than those who were not religiously active but surprisingly, the religiously active and non-active tended to do equally well in faith-based programs.

Faith, Hope, and Jobs concludes with three sets of concrete recommendations for public policymakers, social service program managers, and researchers.

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Five Years After
The Long-Term Effects of Welfare-to-Work Programs
Daniel Friedlander
Russell Sage Foundation, 1995
Friedlander and Burtless teach us why welfare reform will not be easy. Their sobering assessment of job training programs willenlighten a debate too often dominated by wishful thinking and political rhetoric. Look for their findings to be cited for many years to come. —Douglas Besharov, American Enterprise Institute A methodologically astute study that sheds considerable light on the potential for and limits to raising the employment and earnings of welfare recipients and provides benchmarks against which the impacts of later programs can be compared. —Journal of Economic Literature With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s.The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare. Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment programs for welfare recipients, delineates the hard choices that must be made among competing approaches, and provides a well-documented foundation for building more comprehensive programs for the next generation. A sobering tale for welfare reformers of all political persuasions, this book poses a serious challenge to anyone who promises to end welfare dependency by cutting welfare budgets.
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For Better and For Worse
Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families
Greg J. Duncan
Russell Sage Foundation, 2001
The 1996 welfare reform bill marked the beginning of a new era in public assistance. Although the new law has reduced welfare rolls, falling caseloads do not necessarily mean a better standard of living for families. In For Better and For Worse, editors Greg J. Duncan and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and a roster of distinguished experts examine the evidence and evaluate whether welfare reform has met one of its chief goals-improving the well-being of the nation's poor children. For Better and For Worse opens with a lively political history of the welfare reform legislation, which demonstrates how conservative politicians capitalize on public concern over such social problems as single parenthood to win support for the radical reforms. Part I reviews how individual states redesigned, implemented, and are managing their welfare systems. These chapters show that most states appear to view maternal employment, rather that income enhancement and marriage, as key to improving child well-being. Part II focuses on national and multistate evaluations of the changes in welfare to examine how families and children are actually faring under the new system. These chapters suggest that work-focused reforms have not hurt children, and that reforms that provide financial support for working families can actually enhance children's development. Part III presents a variety of perspectives on policy options for the future. Remarkable here is the common ground for both liberals and conservatives on the need to support work and at the same time strengthen safety-net programs such as Food Stamps. Although welfare reform-along with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the booming economy of the nineties-has helped bring mothers into the labor force and some children out of poverty, the nation still faces daunting challenges in helping single parents become permanent members of the workforce. For Better and For Worse gathers the most recent data on the effects of welfare reform in one timely volume focused on improving the life chances of poor children.
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Gender, State, and Medicine in Highland Ecuador
Modernizing Women, Modernizing the State, 1895-1950
A. Kim Clark
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012
In 1921 Matilde Hidalgo became the first woman physician to graduate from the Universidad Central in Quito, Ecuador. Hidalgo was also the first woman to vote in a national election and the first to hold public office.

Author Kim Clark relates the stories of Matilde Hidalgo and other women who successfully challenged newly instituted Ecuadorian state programs in the wake of the Liberal Revolution of 1895. New laws, while they did not specifically outline women’s rights, left loopholes wherein women could contest entry into education systems and certain professions and vote in elections. As Clark demonstrates, many of those who seized these opportunities were unattached women who were socially and economically disenfranchised.

Political and social changes during the liberal period drew new groups into the workforce. Women found novel opportunities to pursue professions where they did not compete directly with men. Training women for work meant expanding secular education systems and normal schools. Healthcare initiatives were also introduced that employed and targeted women to reduce infant mortality, eradicate venereal diseases, and regulate prostitution.

Many of these state programs attempted to control women’s behavior under the guise of morality and honor. Yet highland Ecuadorian women used them to better their lives and to gain professional training, health care, employment, and political rights. As they engaged state programs and used them for their own purposes, these women became modernizers and agents of change, winning freedoms for themselves and future generations.


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Give a Man a Fish
Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution
James Ferguson
Duke University Press, 2015
In Give a Man a Fish James Ferguson examines the rise of social welfare programs in southern Africa, in which states make cash payments to their low income citizens. More than thirty percent of South Africa's population receive such payments, even as pundits elsewhere proclaim the neoliberal death of the welfare state. These programs' successes at reducing poverty under conditions of mass unemployment, Ferguson argues, provide an opportunity for rethinking contemporary capitalism and for developing new forms of political mobilization. Interested in an emerging "politics of distribution," Ferguson shows how new demands for direct income payments (including so-called "basic income") require us to reexamine the relation between production and distribution, and to ask new questions about markets, livelihoods, labor, and the future of progressive politics.
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Groping toward Democracy
African American Social Welfare Reform in St. Louis, 1910-1949
Priscilla A. Dowden-White
University of Missouri Press, 2011
Decades before the 1960s, social reformers began planting the seeds for the Modern Civil Rights era. During the period spanning World Wars I and II, St. Louis, Missouri, was home to a dynamic group of African American social welfare reformers. The city’s history and culture were shaped both by those who would construct it as a southern city and by the heirs of New England abolitionism. Allying with white liberals to promote the era’s new emphasis on “the common good,” black reformers confronted racial segregation and its consequences of inequality and, in doing so, helped to determine the gradual change in public policy that led to a more inclusive social order.

In Groping toward Democracy: African American Social Welfare Reform in St. Louis, 1910–1949, historian Priscilla A. Dowden-White presents an on-the-ground view of local institution building and community organizing campaigns initiated by African American social welfare reformers. Through extensive research, the author places African American social welfare reform efforts within the vanguard of interwar community and neighborhood organization, reaching beyond the “racial uplift” and “behavior” models of the studies preceding hers. She explores one of the era’s chief organizing principles, the “community as a whole” idea, and deliberates on its relationship to segregation and the St. Louis black community’s methods of reform. Groping toward Democracy depicts the dilemmas organizers faced in this segregated time, explaining how they pursued the goal of full, uncontested black citizenship while still seeking to maximize the benefits available to African Americans in segregated institutions. The book’s nuanced mapping of the terrain of social welfare offers an unparalleled view of the progress brought forth by the early-twentieth-century crusade for democracy and equality.

By delving into interrelated developments in health care, education, labor, and city planning, Dowden-White deftly examines St. Louis’s African American interwar history. Her in-depth archival research fills a void in the scholarship of St. Louis’s social development, and her compelling arguments will be of great interest to scholars and teachers of American urban studies and social welfare history.
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Habits of Compassion
Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York's Welfare System, 1830-1920
Maureen Fitzgerald
University of Illinois Press, 2006

The Irish-Catholic Sisters accomplished tremendously successful work in founding charitable organizations in New York City from the Irish famine through the early twentieth century. Maureen Fitzgerald argues that their championing of the rights of the poor—especially poor women—resulted in an explosion of state-supported services and programs. 

Parting from Protestant belief in meager and means-tested aid, Irish Catholic nuns argued for an approach based on compassion for the poor. Fitzgerald positions the nuns' activism as resistance to Protestantism's cultural hegemony. As she shows, Roman Catholic nuns offered strong and unequivocal moral leadership in condemning those who punished the poor for their poverty and unmarried women for sexual transgression. Fitzgerald also delves into the nuns' own communities, from the class-based hierarchies within the convents to the political power they wielded within the city. That power, amplified by an alliance with the local Irish Catholic political machine, allowed the women to expand public charities in the city on an unprecedented scale.

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How Management Matters
Street-Level Bureaucrats and Welfare Reform
Norma M. Riccucci
Georgetown University Press, 2005

Both "bureaucracy" and "bureaucrats" have taken on a pejorative hue over the years, but does the problem lie with those on the "street-level"—those organizations and people the public deals with directly—or is it in how they are managed? Norma Riccucci knows that management matters, and she addresses a critical gap in the understanding of public policy by uniquely focusing on the effects of public management on street-level bureaucrats.

How Management Matters examines not only how but where public management matters in government organizations. Looking at the 1996 welfare reform law (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, or PRWORA), Riccucci examines the law's effectiveness in changing the work functions and behaviors of street-level welfare workers from the role of simply determining eligibility of clients to actually helping their clients find work. She investigates the significant role of these workers in the implementation of welfare reform, the role of public management in changing the system of welfare under the reform law, and management's impact on results—in this case ensuring the delivery of welfare benefits and services to eligible clients.

Over a period of two years, Riccucci traveled specifically to eleven different cities, and from interviews and a large national survey, she gathered quantitative results from cities in such states as New York, Texas, Michigan, and Georgia, that were selected because of their range of policies, administrative structures, and political cultures. General welfare data for all fifty states is included in this rigorous analysis, demonstrating to all with an interest in any field of public administration or public policy that management does indeed matter.

[more]

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Human Capital versus Basic Income
Ideology and Models for Anti-Poverty Programs in Latin America
Fabián A. Borges
University of Michigan Press, 2022
Latin America underwent two major transformations during the 2000s: the widespread election of left-leaning presidents (the so-called left turn) and the diffusion of conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs)—innovative social programs that award regular stipends to poor families on the condition that their children attend school. Combining cross-national quantitative research covering the entire region and in-depth case studies based on field research, Human Capital versus Basic Income: Ideology and Models for Anti-Poverty Programs in Latin America challenges the conventional wisdom that these two transformations were unrelated. In this book, author Fabián A. Borges demonstrates that this ideology greatly influenced both the adoption and design of CCTs.
 
There were two distinct models of CCTs: a “human capital” model based on means-tested targeting and strict enforcement of program conditions, exemplified by the program launched by Mexico’s right, and a more universalistic “basic income” model with more permissive enforcement of conditionality, exemplified by Brazil’s program under Lula. These two models then spread across the region. Whereas right and center governments, with assistance from international financial institutions, enacted CCTs based on the human capital model, the left, with assistance from Brazil, enacted CCTs based on the basic income model.
 
The existence of two distinct types of CCTs and their relation to ideology is supported by quantitative analyses covering the entire region and in-depth case studies based on field research in three countries. Left-wing governments operate CCTs that cover more people and spend more on those programs than their center or right-wing counterparts. Beyond coverage, a subsequent analysis of the 10 national programs adopted after Lula’s embrace of CCTs confirms that program design—evaluated in terms of scope of the target population, strictness of conditionality enforcement, and stipend structure—is shaped by government ideology. This finding is then fleshed out through case studies of the political processes that culminated in the adoption of basic income CCTs by left-wing governments in Argentina and Bolivia and a human capital CCT by a centrist president in Costa Rica.
 
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Ideational Leadership in German Welfare State Reform
How Politicians and Policy Ideas Transform Resilient Institutions
Sabina Stiller
Amsterdam University Press, 2010

An important contribution to the debates surrounding the evolution of the European welfare state model, this volume investigates the role that “ideational leadership” has played in the passing of structural reforms in the change-resistant German welfare state. Based on in-depth case studies of individual reforms in health care, pensions, and unemployment insurance since the early 1990s, Stiller illuminates the ways in which Germany has made the transition from its Bismarckian past to a hybrid welfare state.

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Immigrants and Welfare
The Impact of Welfare Reform on America's Newcomers
Michael E. Fix
Russell Sage Foundation, 2009
The lore of the immigrant who comes to the United States to take advantage of our welfare system has a long history in America's collective mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The so-called problem of immigrants on the dole was nonetheless a major concern of the 1996 welfare reform law, the impact of which is still playing out today. While legal immigrants continue to pay taxes and are eligible for the draft, welfare reform has severely limited their access to government supports in times of crisis. Edited by Michael Fix, Immigrants and Welfare rigorously assesses the welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants' ability to integrate into American society. Immigrants and Welfare draws on fields from demography and law to developmental psychology. The first part of the volume probes the politics behind the welfare reform law, its legal underpinnings, and what it may mean for integration policy. Contributor Ron Haskins makes a case for welfare reform's ultimate success but cautions that excluding noncitizen children (future workers) from benefits today will inevitably have serious repercussions for the American economy down the road. Michael Wishnie describes the implications of the law for equal protection of immigrants under the U.S. Constitution. The second part of the book focuses on empirical research regarding immigrants' propensity to use benefits before the law passed, and immigrants' use and hardship levels afterwards. Jennifer Van Hook and Frank Bean analyze immigrants' benefit use before the law was passed in order to address the contested sociological theories that immigrants are inclined to welfare use and that it slows their assimilation. Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Everett Henderson track trends before and after welfare reform in legal immigrants' use of the major federal benefit programs affected by the law. Leighton Ku looks specifically at trends in food stamps and Medicaid use among noncitizen children and adults and documents the declining health insurance coverage of noncitizen parents and children. Finally, Ariel Kalil and Danielle Crosby use longitudinal data from Chicago to examine the health of children in immigrant families that left welfare. Even though few states took the federal government's invitation with the 1996 welfare reform law to completely freeze legal immigrants out of the social safety net, many of the law's most far-reaching provisions remain in place and have significant implications for immigrants. Immigrants and Welfare takes a balanced look at the politics and history of immigrant access to safety-net supports and the ongoing impacts of welfare. Copublished with the Migration Policy Institute
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front cover of Late-career Risks in Changing Welfare States
Late-career Risks in Changing Welfare States
Comparing Germany and the United States since the 1980s
Jan Paul Heisig
Amsterdam University Press, 2014
Motivated by ongoing debates over welfare state retrenchment and growing economic insecurity, this book compares the situation of older workers in Germany and the United States over the past three decades. Both nations are seeing a rise in insecurity for older workers, but the differences in support programs, pensions, and retirement options have led to differing outcomes for workers faced with early retirement or job loss.
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Legacies of the War on Poverty 
Martha J. Bailey
Russell Sage Foundation, 2013
Many believe that the War on Poverty, launched by President Johnson in 1964, ended in failure. In 2010, the official poverty rate was 15 percent, almost as high as when the War on Poverty was declared. Historical and contemporary accounts often portray the War on Poverty as a costly experiment that created doubts about the ability of public policies to address complex social problems. Legacies of the War on Poverty, drawing from fifty years of empirical evidence, documents that this popular view is too negative. The volume offers a balanced assessment of the War on Poverty that highlights some remarkable policy successes and promises to shift the national conversation on poverty in America. Featuring contributions from leading poverty researchers, Legacies of the War on Poverty demonstrates that poverty and racial discrimination would likely have been much greater today if the War on Poverty had not been launched. Chloe Gibbs, Jens Ludwig, and Douglas Miller dispel the notion that the Head Start education program does not work. While its impact on children’s test scores fade, the program contributes to participants’ long-term educational achievement and, importantly, their earnings growth later in life. Elizabeth Cascio and Sarah Reber show that Title I legislation reduced the school funding gap between poorer and richer states and prompted Southern school districts to desegregate, increasing educational opportunity for African Americans. The volume also examines the significant consequences of income support, housing, and health care programs. Jane Waldfogel shows that without the era’s expansion of food stamps and other nutrition programs, the child poverty rate in 2010 would have been three percentage points higher. Kathleen McGarry examines the policies that contributed to a great success of the War on Poverty: the rapid decline in elderly poverty, which fell from 35 percent in 1959 to below 10 percent in 2010. Barbara Wolfe concludes that Medicaid and Community Health Centers contributed to large reductions in infant mortality and increased life expectancy. Katherine Swartz finds that Medicare and Medicaid increased access to health care among the elderly and reduced the risk that they could not afford care or that obtaining it would bankrupt them and their families. Legacies of the War on Poverty demonstrates that well-designed government programs can reduce poverty, racial discrimination, and material hardships. This insightful volume refutes pessimism about the effects of social policies and provides new lessons about what more can be done to improve the lives of the poor.
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Life After Welfare
Reform and the Persistence of Poverty
By Laura Lein and Deanna T. Schexnayder; with Karen Manges Douglas and Daniel G. Schroeder
University of Texas Press, 2007

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book

In the decade since President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 into law—amidst promises that it would "end welfare as we know it"—did the reforms ending entitlements and moving toward time limits and work requirements lift Texas families once living on welfare out of poverty, or merely strike their names from the administrative rolls?

Under welfare reform, Texas continued with low monthly payments and demanding eligibility criteria. Many families who could receive welfare in other states do not qualify in Texas, and virtually any part-time job makes a family ineligible. In Texas, most families who leave welfare remain in or near poverty, and many are likely to return to the welfare rolls in the future.

This compelling work, which follows 179 families after leaving welfare, is set against a backdrop of multiple types of data and econometric modeling. The authors' multi-method approach draws on administrative data from nine programs serving low-income families and a statewide survey of families who have left welfare. Survey data on health problems, transportation needs, and child-care issues shed light on the patterns of employment and welfare use seen in the administrative data. In their lives after welfare, the families chronicled here experience poverty even when employed; a multiplicity of barriers to employment that work to exacerbate one another; and a failing safety net of basic human services as they attempt to sustain low-wage employment.

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The Limits of Social Policy
Nathan Glazer
Harvard University Press, 1988

Many social policies of the 1960s and 1970s, designed to overcome poverty and provide a decent minimum standard of living for all Americans, ran into trouble in the 1980s—with politicians, with social scientists, and with the American people. Nathan Glazer has been a leading analyst and critic of those measures. Here he looks back at what went wrong, arguing that our social policies, although targeted effectively on some problems, ignored others that are equally important and contributed to the weakening of the structures—family, ethnic and neighborhood ties, commitment to work—that form the foundations of a healthy society. What keeps society going, after all, is that most people feel they should work, however well they might do without working, and that they should take care of their families, however attractive it might appear on occasion to desert them.

Glazer proposes new kinds of social policies that would strengthen social structures and traditional restraints. Thus, to reinforce the incentive to work, he would attach to low-income jobs the same kind of fringe benefits—health insurance, social security, vacations with pay—that now make higher-paying jobs attractive and that paradoxically are already available in some form to those on welfare. More generally, he would reorient social policy to fit more comfortably with deep and abiding tendencies in American political culture: toward volunteerism, privatization, and decentralization.

After a long period of quiescence, social policy and welfare reform are once again becoming salient issues on the national political agenda. Nathan Glazer’s deep knowledge and considered judgment, distilled in this book, will be a source of advice, ideas, and inspiration for citizens and policymakers alike.

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Logics of Empowerment
Development, Gender, and Governance in Neoliberal India
Aradhana Sharma
University of Minnesota Press, 2008

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A Long Goodbye to Bismarck?
The Politics of Welfare Reform in Continental Europe
Edited by Bruno Palier
Amsterdam University Press, 2010

A Long Goodbye to Bismarck? is the first study to provide an exhaustive comparative account of all welfare reforms in continental Europe during the past three decades, covering Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland.

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Making Modern Girls
A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development in Colonial Lagos
Abosede A. George
Ohio University Press, 2014

Winner of the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women's experiences. (African Studies Association)
Honorable Mention, New York African Studies Association Book Prize

In Making Modern Girls, Abosede A. George examines the influence of African social reformers and the developmentalist colonial state on the practice and ideology of girlhood as well as its intersection with child labor in Lagos, Nigeria. It draws from gender studies, generational studies, labor history, and urban history to shed new light on the complex workings of African cities from the turn of the twentieth century through the nationalist era of the 1950s.

The two major schemes at the center of this study were the modernization project of elite Lagosian women and the salvationist project of British social workers. By approaching children and youth, specifically girl hawkers, as social actors and examining the ways in which local and colonial reformers worked upon young people, the book offers a critical new perspective on the uses of African children for the production and legitimization of national and international social development initiatives.

Making Modern Girls demonstrates how oral sources can be used to uncover the social history of informal or undocumented urban workers and to track transformations in practices of childhood over the course of decades. George revises conventional accounts of the history of development work in Africa by drawing close attention to the social welfare initiatives of late colonialism and by highlighting the roles that African women reformers played in promoting sociocultural changes within their own societies.

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Making Security Social
Disability, Insurance, and the Birth of the Social Entitlement State in Germany
Greg Eghigian
University of Michigan Press, 2000
While welfare has been subject to pronounced criticism throughout the twentieth century, social insurance has consistently enjoyed the overwhelming support of European policy makers and citizens. This volume argues that the emergence of social insurance represents a paradigmatic shift in modern understandings of health, work, political participation, and government. By institutionalizing compensation, social insurance transformed it into a right that the employed population quickly came to assume.
Theoretically informed and based on intensive archival research on disability insurance records, most of which have never been used by historians, the book considers how social science and political philosophy combined to give shape to the idea of a "social" insurance in the nineteenth century; the process by which social insurance gave birth to modern notions of "disability" and "rehabilitation"; and the early-twentieth-century development of political action groups for the disabled.
Most earlier histories of German social insurance have been legislative histories that stressed the system's coercive features and functions. Making Security Social, by contrast, emphasizes the administrative practices of everyday life, the experience of consumers, and the ability of workers not only to resist, but to transform, social insurance bureaucracy and political debate. It thus demonstrates that social insurance was pivotal in establishing a general attitude of demand, claim, and entitlement as the primary link between the modern state and those it governed.
In addition to historians of Germany, Making Security Social will attract researchers across disciplines who are concerned with public policy, disability studies, and public health.
Greg Eghigian is Associate Professor of History, Penn State University.
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Making Social Welfare Policy in America
Three Case Studies since 1950
Edward D. Berkowitz
University of Chicago Press, 2020
American social welfare policy has produced a health system with skyrocketing costs, a disability insurance program that consigns many otherwise productive people to lives of inactivity, and a welfare program that attracts wide criticism. Making Social Welfare Policy in America explains how this happened by examining the historical development of three key programs—Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families. Edward D. Berkowitz traces the developments that led to each program’s creation. Policy makers often find it difficult to dislodge a program’s administrative structure, even as political, economic, and cultural circumstances change. Faced with this situation, they therefore solve contemporary problems with outdated programs and must improvise politically acceptable solutions. The results vary according to the political popularity of the program and the changes in the conventional wisdom. Some programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, remain in place over time. Policy makers have added new parts to Medicare to reflect modern developments. Congress has abolished Aid to Families of Dependent Children and replaced with a new program intended to encourage work among adult welfare recipients raising young children. 

Written in an accessible style and using a minimum of academic jargon, this book illuminates how three of our most important social welfare programs have come into existence and how they have fared over time. 
 
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Making Work Pay
Bruce D. Meyer
Russell Sage Foundation, 2001
Since its inception under President Ford in 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has become the largest antipoverty program for the non-elderly in the United States. In 1998, more than nineteen million families received EITC payments, and the program lifted over four million Americans above the poverty line. Despite the rapid growth of the EITC throughout the 1990s, little has been written about how the program works or how it affects low-income families. Making Work Pay provides the first full-scale examination of the EITC, exploring its effects on income distribution, poverty, work, and marriage. Making Work Pay opens with a history of the EITC—its emergence in the 1970s as a pro-work, low-cost antipoverty program and its expansion through the 1980s and 1990s. The central chapters in the volume look at the substantial impact of the EITC on work incentives in recent years and show that the program, in combination with welfare reform and a strong economy, has led to an unprecedented increase in the employment of single mothers. In one study, researchers conclude that the EITC—with its stipulation that one family member be a wage earner—was the most important change in work incentives for single mothers between 1984 and 1996, a period when the employment rate of single mothers rose sharply. Several chapters outline proposals for reforming the program, addressing the concerns by policymakers about the work disincentives that rise as benefits fall with increasing income. Finally, Making Work Pay examines how EITC recipients view the credit and what they do with it once they get it. The contributors find that not only does EITC's lump-sum payment increase consumption but it also allows recipients to make changes in economic status. Many families use the end-of-the-year payment as a form of forced savings, enabling them to save for home improvement, a new car, or other purchases to improve their lives, and providing the extra economic cushion needed to move beyond mere day-to-day survival. Comprehensive in scope, Making Work Pay is an indispensable resource for policymakers, administrators, and researchers seeking to understand the ramifications of the country's largest programs for aiding the working poor.
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Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States
Edited by Robert A. Moffitt
University of Chicago Press, 2003
Few United States government programs are as controversial as those designed to aid the poor. From tax credits to medical assistance, aid to needy families is surrounded by debate—on what benefits should be offered, what forms they should take, and how they should be administered. The past few decades, in fact, have seen this debate lead to broad transformations of aid programs themselves, with Aid to Families with Dependent Children replaced by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the Earned Income Tax Credit growing from a minor program to one of the most important for low-income families, and Medicaid greatly expanding its eligibility.

This volume provides a remarkable overview of how such programs actually work, offering an impressive wealth of information on the nation's nine largest "means-tested" programs—that is, those in which some test of income forms the basis for participation. For each program, contributors describe origins and goals, summarize policy histories and current rules, and discuss the recipient's characteristics as well as the different types of benefits they receive. Each chapter then provides an overview of scholarly research on each program, bringing together the results of the field's most rigorous statistical examinations.

The result is a fascinating portrayal of the evolution and current state of means-tested programs, one that charts a number of shifts in emphasis—the decline of cash assistance, for instance, and the increasing emphasis on work. This exemplary portrait of the nation's safety net will be an invaluable reference for anyone interested in American social policy.
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Negotiating Relief
The Development of Social Welfare Programs in Depression-Era Michigan, 1930–1940
Susan Stein-Roggenbuck
The Ohio State University Press, 2008
In Negotiating Relief, Susan Stein-Roggenbuck examines Michigan’s implementation of the New Deal relief programs and the state’s reorganization of welfare in 1939. Local officials, social workers, and recipients were key players in the Michigan debates over how best to administer relief. The book sheds important light on the profession of social work and public welfare, and the development of nonfederal relief at the state and local levels after 1935.
 
Guided by fiscal localism and a firm belief in home rule, local officials fought to retain control of relief. Stein-Roggenbuck argues that while significant changes occurred in welfare policy as a result of the New Deal, many continuities remained. Among those was the responsibility of families to provide financial support. Often forgotten were those on general relief—individuals who did not fit the federal programs such as Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) and Old Age Assistance (OAA). General relief became a third track of welfare.

Drawing on newspaper records, county and city board minutes, social welfare agency records, federal records, and case file records, Negotiating Relief gives voice to the numerous groups involved in welfare debates, particularly the recipients of relief. This book adds to our understanding of the local implementation of welfare policy in both rural and urban areas.
 
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New Deal Modernism
American Literature and the Invention of the Welfare State
Michael Szalay
Duke University Press, 2000
In New Deal Modernism Michael Szalay examines the effect that the rise of the welfare state had on American modernism during the 1930s and 1940s, and, conversely, what difference this revised modernism made to the New Deal’s famed invention of “Big Government.”
Szalay situates his study within a liberal culture bent on security, a culture galvanized by its imagined need for private and public insurance.
Taking up prominent exponents of social and economic security—such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Maynard Keynes, and John Dewey—Szalay demonstrates how the New Deal’s revision of free-market culture required rethinking the political function of aesthetics. Focusing in particular on the modernist fascination with the relation between form and audience, Szalay offers innovative accounts of Busby Berkeley, Jack London, James M. Cain, Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, Betty Smith, and Gertrude Stein, as well as extended analyses of the works of Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Richard Wright.
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Not for Patching
A Strategic Welfare Review
Frank Field and Andrew Forsey
Haus Publishing, 2017
In his famous report of 1942, the economist and social reformer William Beveridge wrote that World War II was a “revolutionary moment in the world’s history” and so a time “for revolutions, not for patching.” The Beveridge Report outlined the welfare state that Atlee’s government would go on to implement after 1946, instituting, for the first time, a national system of benefits to protect all from “the cradle to the grave.” Its crowning glory was the National Health Service, established in 1948, which provided free medical care for all at the point of delivery. Since then, the welfare system has been patched, beset by muddled thinking and short-termism. The British government spends more than £171 billion every year on welfare—and yet, since the Beveridge Report, there has been no strategic review of the system, compared to other areas of government and public policy, which have been subject to frequent strategic reviews. Reform of the welfare system need not mean dismantlement, Frank Field and Andrew Forsey argue here, but serious questions nonetheless must be asked about how the welfare state as we understand it can remain sustainable as the twenty-first century progresses.
 
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The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia
Conservatives, Bureaucracy, and the Social Question, 1815-70
Hermann Beck
University of Michigan Press, 1997
Prussia's social and political structure, institutions, and values were in many ways formative for German history after 1871. After unification Prussia accounted for roughly two-thirds of the empire's size and population, but its weight within Germany was even greater because Prussia in large part molded the German identity and shaped Germany's image abroad.
The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia examines this Prussian/German identity. It investigates the complex traditions of ideas, institutions, and social policy measures that lay at the root of the conservative Prussian welfare state. The examination of the ideas and policies of Prussian officials brings out a peculiar welfare state mentality of benevolence and patriarchal concern, pervaded by authoritarian streaks, that was unique in nineteenth-century Europe. In addition, the study analyzes the historiographical implications of the question of continuity and discontinuity in German history.
The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia is of interest to scholars and students of German history as well as to students of governmental social policy and of the workings of a welfare state.
Hermann Beck is Associate Professor of History, University of Miami.
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Overseers of the Poor
Surveillance, Resistance, and the Limits of Privacy
John Gilliom
University of Chicago Press, 2001
In Overseers of the Poor, John Gilliom confronts the everyday politics of surveillance by exploring the worlds and words of those who know it best-the watched. Arguing that the current public conversation about surveillance and privacy rights is rife with political and conceptual failings, Gilliom goes beyond the critics and analysts to add fresh voices, insights, and perspectives.

This powerful book lets us in on the conversations of low-income mothers from Appalachian Ohio as they talk about the welfare bureaucracy and its remarkably advanced surveillance system. In their struggle to care for their families, these women are monitored and assessed through a vast network of supercomputers, caseworkers, fraud control agents, and even grocers and neighbors.

In-depth interviews show that these women focus less on the right to privacy than on a critique of surveillance that lays bare the personal and political conflicts with which they live. And, while they have little interest in conventional forms of politics, we see widespread patterns of everyday resistance as they subvert the surveillance regime when they feel it prevents them from being good parents. Ultimately, Overseers of the Poor demonstrates the need to reconceive not just our understanding of the surveillance-privacy debate but also the broader realms of language, participation, and the politics of rights.

We all know that our lives are being watched more than ever before. As we struggle to understand and confront this new order, Gilliom argues, we need to spend less time talking about privacy rights, legislatures, and courts of law and more time talking about power, domination, and the ongoing struggles of everyday people.





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Planning for a New Century
The Regional Agenda
Edited by Jonathan Barnett
Island Press, 2000

Across the United States, issues such as sustainability, smart growth, and livable communities are making headlines. Planning for a New Century brings together leading thinkers in the fields of planning, urban design, education, welfare, and housing to examine those issues and to consider the ways in which public policies have helped create—and can help solve—many of the problems facing our communities.

Each chapter identifies issues, provides background, and offers specific policy suggestions for federal, state, and local initiatives. Topics examined include:

  • the relation of existing growth management policies to social equity, as well as how regional growth management measures can make new development more sustainable
  • how an obscure technical procedure in highway design becomes a de facto regional plan
  • ways in which local governments can promote environmental preservation and better-designed communities by rewriting local zoning and subdivision ordinances
  • why alleviating housing shortages and slum conditions has resulted in a lack of affordable housing, and how that problem can be solved
  • how business improvement districts can make downtowns cleaner, safer, and more welcoming to workers and visitors

In addition, the book features chapters on public safety, education, and welfare reform that include proposals that will help make regional growth management easier as inner-city crime is reduced, schools are improved, and concentrations of extreme poverty are eliminated.

Planning for the New Century brings together current academic research with pressing public policy concerns, and will be a useful resource for policymakers at all levels of government, for planners and architects, and for students and scholars of urban planning and design, and urban studies.

[more]

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Politics and Welfare in Birmingham, 1900–1975
Edward Shannon LaMonte
University of Alabama Press, 1995

This well-written volume explores the relationships between politics and welfare programs for low-income residents in Birmingham during four periods in the twentieth century:

• 1900-1917, the formative period of city building when welfare was predominantly a responsibility of the private sector;
• 1928-1941, when the Great Depression devastated the local economy and federal intervention became the principal means of meeting human need;
• the mid 1950s, when the lasting impacts of the New Deal could be assessed and when matters of race relations became increasingly significant;
• 1962-1975, when an intense period of local government reform, the Civil Rights movement, federal intervention in the form of the War on Poverty, and increasing demands for citizen participation all reinforced one another.

From the time of its founding in 1871, Birmingham has had a biracial population, so the theme of race relations runs naturally throughout the narrative. LaMonte pays particular attention to those efforts to achieve a more harmonious biracial community, including the failed effort to establish an Urban League in the 1940s, the progressive activities of the Community Chest’s Interracial Division in the 1950s, which were abruptly terminated, and the dramatic events of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, when local events were elevated to international significance.

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The Politics of Justification
Party Competition and Welfare-State Retrenchment in Denmark and the Netherlands from 1982 to 1998
Christoffer Green-Pedersen
Amsterdam University Press, 2003
Christoffer Green-Pedersen's insightful examination of political party strategy in Europe reveals strong links between party consensus and policy retrenchment, arguing that the former allows governments to frame retrenchment in a way that justifies it to the electorate. In the Netherlands, Green-Pedersen shows, such consensus emerged in the mid-1980s, allowing the government to implement a number of welfare retrenchments; in Denmark, consensus did not emerge until the Social Democratic Party re-entered government in 1993, leading to less welfare-state retrenchment than in the Netherlands.
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The Politics of Policy Change
Welfare, Medicare, and Social Security Reform in the United States
Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan
Georgetown University Press, 2012

For generations, debating the expansion or contraction of the American welfare state has produced some of the nation's most heated legislative battles. Attempting social policy reform is both risky and complicated, especially when it involves dealing with powerful vested interests, sharp ideological disagreements, and a nervous public.

The Politics of Policy Change compares and contrasts recent developments in three major federal policy areas in the United States: welfare, Medicare, and Social Security. Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan argue that we should pay close attention to the role of ideas when explaining the motivations for, and obstacles to, policy change.

This insightful book concentrates on three cases of social policy reform (or attempted reform) that took place during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Béland and Waddan further employ their framework to help explain the meaning of the 2010 health insurance reform and other developments that have taken place during the Obama presidency. The result is a book that will improve our understanding of the politics of policy change in contemporary federal politics.

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Politics of Risk-Taking
Welfare State Reform in Advanced Democracies
Barbara Vis
Amsterdam University Press, 2010

How much and in which direction have the welfare states among the Western democracies changed over the past decades? Moreover, under what conditions have governments enacted these changes? Based on insights from prospect theory, Barbara Vis demonstrates how socioeconomic or political setbacks affect a government’s view of risk—and thereby the degree and type of reform they pursue. This study’s new theoretical stance and innovative methodological approach make it a must read for those policymakers, scholars, and students interested in the politics of welfare state reform.

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front cover of The Poor Belong to Us
The Poor Belong to Us
Dorothy M. Brown and Elizabeth McKeown
Harvard University Press, 1997

Between the Civil War and World War II, Catholic charities evolved from volunteer and local origins into a centralized and professionally trained workforce that played a prominent role in the development of American welfare. Dorothy Brown and Elizabeth McKeown document the extraordinary efforts of Catholic volunteers to care for Catholic families and resist Protestant and state intrusions at the local level, and they show how these initiatives provided the foundation for the development of the largest private system of social provision in the United States.

It is a story tightly interwoven with local, national, and religious politics that began with the steady influx of poor Catholic immigrants into urban centers. Supported by lay organizations and by sympathetic supporters in city and state politics, religious women operated foundling homes, orphanages, protectories, reformatories, and foster care programs for the children of the Catholic poor in New York City and in urban centers around the country.

When pressure from reform campaigns challenged Catholic child care practices in the first decades of the twentieth century, Catholic charities underwent a significant transformation, coming under central diocesan control and growing increasingly reliant on the services of professional social workers. And as the Depression brought nationwide poverty and an overwhelming need for public solutions, Catholic charities faced a staggering challenge to their traditional claim to stewardship of the poor. In their compelling account, Brown and McKeown add an important dimension to our understanding of the transition from private to state social welfare.

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A Pound of Flesh
Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor
Alexes Harris
Russell Sage Foundation, 2016

Over seven million Americans are either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, with their criminal records often following them for life and affecting access to higher education, jobs, and housing. Court-ordered monetary sanctions that compel criminal defendants to pay fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution further inhibit their ability to reenter society. In A Pound of Flesh, sociologist Alexes Harris analyzes the rise of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system and shows how they permanently penalize and marginalize the poor. She exposes the damaging effects of a little-understood component of criminal sentencing and shows how it further perpetuates racial and economic inequality.

Harris draws from extensive sentencing data, legal documents, observations of court hearings, and interviews with defendants, judges, prosecutors, and other court officials. She documents how low-income defendants are affected by monetary sanctions, which include fees for public defenders and a variety of processing charges. Until these debts are paid in full, individuals remain under judicial supervision, subject to court summons, warrants, and jail stays. As a result of interest and surcharges that accumulate on unpaid financial penalties, these monetary sanctions often become insurmountable legal debts which many offenders carry for the remainder of their lives. Harris finds that such fiscal sentences, which are imposed disproportionately on low-income minorities, help create a permanent economic underclass and deepen social stratification.

A Pound of Flesh delves into the court practices of five counties in Washington State to illustrate the ways in which subjective sentencing shapes the practice of monetary sanctions. Judges and court clerks hold a considerable degree of discretion in the sentencing and monitoring of monetary sanctions and rely on individual values—such as personal responsibility, meritocracy, and paternalism—to determine how much and when offenders should pay. Harris shows that monetary sanctions are imposed at different rates across jurisdictions, with little or no state government oversight. Local officials’ reliance on their own values and beliefs can also push offenders further into debt—for example, when judges charge defendants who lack the means to pay their fines with contempt of court and penalize them with additional fines or jail time.

A Pound of Flesh provides a timely examination of how monetary sanctions permanently bind poor offenders to the judicial system. Harris concludes that in letting monetary sanctions go unchecked, we have created a two-tiered legal system that imposes additional burdens on already-marginalized groups.

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Poverty and Society
The Growth of the American Welfare State in International Comparison
Levine, Daniel
Rutgers University Press, 1988
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Poverty in Common
The Politics of Community Action during the American Century
Alyosha Goldstein
Duke University Press, 2012
After the Second World War, the idea that local community action was indispensable for the alleviation of poverty was broadly embraced by US policymakers, social scientists, international development specialists, and grassroots activists. Governmental efforts to mobilize community action in the name of democracy served as a volatile condition of possibility for poor people and dispossessed groups negotiating the tension between calls for self-help and demands for self-determination in the era of the Cold War and global decolonization. In Poverty in Common, Alyosha Goldstein suggests new ways to think about the relationship among liberalism, government, and inequality in the United States. He does so by analyzing historical dynamics including Progressive-era reform as a precursor to community development during the Cold War, the ways that the language of "underdevelopment" articulated ideas about poverty and foreignness, the use of poverty as a crucible of interest group politics, and radical groups' critical reframing of community action in anticolonial terms. During the mid-twentieth century, approaches to poverty in the United States were linked to the racialized and gendered negotiation of boundaries—between the foreign and the domestic, empire and nation, violence and order, and dependency and autonomy.
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The Poverty Law Canon
Exploring the Major Cases
Marie A. Failinger and Ezra Rosser, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2016
The Poverty Law Canon takes readers into the lives of the clients and lawyers who brought critical poverty law cases in the United States. These cases involved attempts to establish the right to basic necessities, as well as efforts to ensure dignified treatment of welfare recipients and to halt administrative attacks on federal program benefit levels. They also confronted government efforts to constrict access to justice, due process, and rights to counsel in child support and consumer cases, social welfare programs, and public housing. By exploring the personal narratives that gave rise to these lawsuits as well as the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the Supreme Court, the text locates these cases within the social dynamics that shaped the course of litigation.
 
Noted legal scholars explain the legal precedent created by each case and set the case within its historical and political context in a way that will assist students and advocates in poverty-related disciplines in their understanding of the implications of these cases for contemporary public policy decisions in poverty programs. Whether the focus is on the clients, on the lawyers, or on the justices, the stories in The Poverty Law Canon illuminate the central legal themes in federal poverty law of the late 20th century and the role that racial and economic stereotyping plays in shaping American law.
 
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A Poverty of Imagination
Bootstrap Capitalism, Sequel to Welfare Reform
David Stoesz
University of Wisconsin Press, 2000

Welfare reform was supposed to end welfare as we know it. And it has. The welfare poor have been largely transformed into the working poor, but their poverty persists. This hard-hitting book takes a close look at where we’ve gone wrong—and where we might go next if we truly want to improve the lot of America’s underclass.
    Tracing the roots of recent reforms to the early days of the war on poverty, A Poverty of Imagination describes a social welfare system grown increasingly inept, corrupt, and susceptible to conservative redesign. Investigating the causes of the ongoing failure of welfare assistance, Stoesz focuses on the economic barriers that impede movement out of poverty into the American mainstream. He explores such issues as the heterogeneity of welfare families, generational welfare, inadequate benefits, the negative effects of time limits on welfare recipients, a fringe banking industry that exploits low-income families, the limited capacity of low-wage markets, and the unavailability of credit.
    Stoesz suggests that a form of "bootstrap capitalism" would allow individuals and families to participate more fully in American society and achieve upward economic mobility and stability. This proposal, emphasizing wage supplements, asset building, and community capitalism, sets the stage for the next act in poverty policy in the United States. With its valuable insights on the American welfare system and its positive agenda for change, this book makes a significant intervention in our ongoing struggle to come to terms with widespread poverty in the wealthiest nation on earth.

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The Private Abuse of the Public Interest
Market Myths and Policy Muddles
Lawrence D. Brown and Lawrence R. Jacobs
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Despite George W. Bush’s professed opposition to big government, federal spending has increased under his watch more quickly than it did during the Clinton administration, and demands on government have continued to grow. Why? Lawrence Brown and Lawrence Jacobs show that conservative efforts to expand markets and shrink government often have the ironic effect of expanding government’s reach by creating problems that force legislators to enact new rules and regulations. Dismantling the flawed reasoning behind these attempts to cast markets and public power in opposing roles, The Private Abuse of the Public Interest urges citizens and policy makers to recognize that properly functioning markets presuppose the government’s ability to create, sustain, and repair them over time.

The authors support their pragmatic approach with evidence drawn from in-depth analyses of education, transportation, and health care policies. In each policy area, initiatives such as school choice, deregulation of airlines and other carriers, and the promotion of managed care have introduced or enlarged the role of market forces with the aim of eliminating bureaucratic inefficiency. But in each case, the authors show, reality proved to be much more complex than market models predicted. This complexity has resulted in a political cycle—strikingly consistent across policy spheres—that culminates in public interventions to sustain markets while protecting citizens from their undesirable effects. Situating these case studies in the context of more than two hundred years of debate about the role of markets in society, Brown and Jacobs call for a renewed focus on public-private partnerships that recognize and respect each sector’s vital—and fundamentally complementary—role.
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front cover of Protecting Soldiers and Mothers
Protecting Soldiers and Mothers
The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States
Theda Skocpol
Harvard University Press, 1992

It is a commonplace that the United States lagged behind the countries of Western Europe in developing modern social policies. But, as Theda Skocpol shows in this startlingly new historical analysis, the United States actually pioneered generous social spending for many of its elderly, disabled, and dependent citizens. During the late nineteenth century, competitive party politics in American democracy led to the rapid expansion of benefits for Union Civil War veterans and their families.

Some Americans hoped to expand veterans' benefits into pensions for all of the needy elderly and social insurance for workingmen and their families. But such hopes went against the logic of political reform in the Progressive Era. Generous social spending faded along with the Civil War generation.

Instead, the nation nearly became a unique maternalist welfare state as the federal government and more than forty states enacted social spending, labor regulations, and health education programs to assist American mothers and children. Remarkably, as Skocpol shows, many of these policies were enacted even before American women were granted the right to vote. Banned from electoral politics, they turned their energies to creating huge, nation-spanning federations of local women's clubs, which collaborated with reform-minded professional women to spur legislative action across the country.

Blending original historical research with political analysis, Skocpol shows how governmental institutions, electoral rules, political parties, and earlier public policies combined to determine both the opportunities and the limits within which social policies were devised and changed by reformers and politically active social groups over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

By examining afresh the institutional, cultural, and organizational forces that have shaped U.S. social policies in the past, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers challenges us to think in new ways about what might be possible in the American future.

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Putting Poor People to Work
How the Work-First Idea Eroded College Access for the Poor
Kathleen M. Shaw
Russell Sage Foundation, 2006
Today, a college education is increasingly viewed as the gateway to the American Dream—a necessary prerequisite for social mobility. Yet recent policy reforms in the United States effectively steer former welfare recipients away from an education that could further their career prospects, forcing them directly into the workforce where they often find only low-paying jobs with little opportunity for growth. In Putting Poor People to Work, Kathleen Shaw, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Christopher Mazzeo, and Jerry A. Jacobs explore this troubling disconnect between the principles of "work-first" and "college for all." Using comprehensive interviews with government officials and sophisticated data from six states over a four year period, Putting Poor People to Work shows how recent changes in public policy have reduced the quantity and quality of education and training available to adults with low incomes. The authors analyze how two policies encouraging work—the federal welfare reform law of 1996 and the Workforce Investment Act of 1998—have made moving people off of public assistance as soon as possible, with little regard to their long-term career prospects, a government priority. Putting Poor People to Work shows that since the passage of these "work-first" laws, not only are fewer low-income individuals pursuing postsecondary education, but when they do, they are increasingly directed towards the most ineffective, short-term forms of training, rather than higher-quality college-level education. Moreover, the schools most able and ready to serve poor adults—the community colleges—are deterred by these policies from doing so. Having a competitive, agile workforce that can compete with any in the world is a national priority. In a global economy where skills are paramount, that goal requires broad popular access to education and training. Putting Poor People to Work shows how current U.S. policy discourages poor Americans from seeking out a college education, stranding them in jobs with little potential for growth. This important new book makes a powerful argument for a shift in national priorities that would encourage the poor to embrace both work and education, rather than having to choose between the two. Institute for Research on Poverty Affiliated Books on Poverty and Public Policy">An Institute for Research on Poverty Affiliated Book on Poverty and Public Policy
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Race and the Politics of Welfare Reform
Sanford F. Schram, Joe Soss, and Richard C. Fording, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2003
It's hard to imagine discussing welfare policy without discussing race, yet all too often this uncomfortable factor is avoided or simply ignored. Sometimes the relationship between welfare and race is treated as so self-evident as to need no further attention; equally often, race in the context of welfare is glossed over, lest it raise hard questions about racism in American society as a whole. Either way, ducking the issue misrepresents the facts and misleads the public and policy-makers alike.
Many scholars have addressed specific aspects of this subject, but until now there has been no single integrated overview. Race and the Politics of Welfare Reform is designed to fill this need and provide a forum for a range of voices and perspectives that reaffirm the key role race has played--and continues to play--in our approach to poverty.
The essays collected here offer a systematic, step-by-step approach to the issue. Part 1 traces the evolution of welfare from the 1930s to the sweeping Clinton-era reforms, providing a historical context within which to consider today's attitudes and strategies. Part 2 looks at media representation and public perception, observing, for instance, that although blacks accounted for only about one-third of America's poor from 1967 to 1992, they featured in nearly two-thirds of news stories on poverty, a bias inevitably reflected in public attitudes. Part 3 discusses public discourse, asking questions like "Whose voices get heard and why?" and "What does 'race' mean to different constituencies?" For although "old-fashioned" racism has been replaced by euphemism, many of the same underlying prejudices still drive welfare debates--and indeed are all the more pernicious for being unspoken. Part 4 examines policy choices and implementation, showing how even the best-intentioned reform often simply displaces institutional inequities to the individual level--bias exercised case by case but no less discriminatory in effect. Part 5 explores the effects of welfare reform and the implications of transferring policy-making to the states, where local politics and increasing use of referendum balloting introduce new, often unpredictable concerns. Finally, Frances Fox Piven's concluding commentary, "Why Welfare Is Racist," offers a provocative response to the views expressed in the pages that have gone before--intended not as a "last word" but rather as the opening argument in an ongoing, necessary, and newly envisioned national debate.
Sanford Schram is Visiting Professor of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
Joe Soss teaches in the Department of Government at the Graduate school of Public Affairs, American University, Washington, D.C.
Richard Fording is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Kentucky.
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Red Tape
Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India
Akhil Gupta
Duke University Press, 2012
Red Tape presents a major new theory of the state developed by the renowned anthropologist Akhil Gupta. Seeking to understand the chronic and widespread poverty in India, the world's fourth largest economy, Gupta conceives of the relation between the state in India and the poor as one of structural violence. Every year this violence kills between two and three million people, especially women and girls, and lower-caste and indigenous peoples. Yet India's poor are not disenfranchised; they actively participate in the democratic project. Nor is the state indifferent to the plight of the poor; it sponsors many poverty amelioration programs.

Gupta conducted ethnographic research among officials charged with coordinating development programs in rural Uttar Pradesh. Drawing on that research, he offers insightful analyses of corruption; the significance of writing and written records; and governmentality, or the expansion of bureaucracies. Those analyses underlie his argument that care is arbitrary in its consequences, and that arbitrariness is systematically produced by the very mechanisms that are meant to ameliorate social suffering. What must be explained is not only why government programs aimed at providing nutrition, employment, housing, healthcare, and education to poor people do not succeed in their objectives, but also why, when they do succeed, they do so unevenly and erratically.

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front cover of The Reform of Bismarckian Pension Systems
The Reform of Bismarckian Pension Systems
A Comparison of Pension Politics in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden
Martin Schludi
Amsterdam University Press, 2005
Sluggish economic growth, rising unemployment, and a rapidly aging population all exert financial pressure on public pension systems and highlight the need for major reform. Martin Schludi traces the political process of pension reform in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden from the 1980s onward and skillfully analyzes the various political and economic factors in pension reform, such as gaining public support for policy initiatives. Schludi also considers case studies that range from successfully restructured pension arrangements to complete policy failures. This volume is an essential and valuable resource that demystifies the complex factors involved in social policy reforms driven by fiscal concerns.
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Remaking America
Democracy and Public Policy in an Age of Inequality
Joe Soss
Russell Sage Foundation, 2007
Over the past three decades, the contours of American social, economic, and political life have changed dramatically. The post-war patterns of broadly distributed economic growth have given way to stark inequalities of income and wealth, the GOP and its allies have gained power and shifted U.S. politics rightward, and the role of government in the lives of Americans has changed fundamentally. Remaking America explores how these trends are related, investigating the complex interactions of economics, politics, and public policy. Remaking America explains how the broad restructuring of government policy has both reflected and propelled major shifts in the character of inequality and democracy in the United States. The contributors explore how recent political and policy changes affect not just the social standing of Americans but also the character of democratic citizenship in the United States today. Lawrence Jacobs shows how partisan politics, public opinion, and interest groups have shaped the evolution of Medicare, but also how Medicare itself restructured health politics in America. Kimberly Morgan explains how highly visible tax policies created an opportunity for conservatives to lead a grassroots tax revolt that ultimately eroded of the revenues needed for social-welfare programs. Deborah Stone explores how new policies have redefined participation in the labor force—as opposed to fulfilling family or civic obligations—as the central criterion of citizenship. Frances Fox Piven explains how low-income women remain creative and vital political actors in an era in which welfare programs increasingly subject them to stringent behavioral requirements and monitoring. Joshua Guetzkow and Bruce Western document the rise of mass incarceration in America and illuminate its unhealthy effects on state social-policy efforts and the civic status of African-American men. For many disadvantaged Americans who used to look to government as a source of opportunity and security, the state has become increasingly paternalistic and punitive. Far from standing alone, their experience reflects a broader set of political victories and policy revolutions that have fundamentally altered American democracy and society. Empirically grounded and theoretically informed, Remaking America connects the dots to provide insight into the remarkable social and political changes of the last three decades.
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Rethinking Social Policy
Race, Poverty, and the Underclass
Christopher Jencks
Harvard University Press, 1992

In a fervent appeal for clearer thinking on social issues, Christopher Jencks reexamines the way Americans think about race, poverty, crime, heredity, welfare, and the underclass. Arguing that neither liberal nor conservative ideas about these issues withstand close scrutiny, he calls for less emphasis on political principles and more attention to specific programs. Jencks describes how welfare policy was dominated in the early 1980s by conservatives who promoted ideas that justified cutting back sharply on the social programs of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. They believed that a period of sustained economic growth, with low taxes and free markets, would do more to help poor people than coddling them with government assistance.

Despite the economic expansion of the later Reagan years, however, the problems of persistent poverty grew even more serious. The liberals took the initiative in the late 1980s, but their proposals failed to win broad popular support. With clarity and a gift for apt analogy, Jencks analyzes influential books on such subjects as affirmative action (Thomas Sowell), the “safety net” (Charles Murray), the effects of heredity on learning and propensity to commit crime (James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein), ghetto culture and the underclass (William J. Wilson). His intention throughout is “to unbundle the empirical and moral assumptions that traditional ideologies tie together, making the reader's picture of the world more complicated”—in other words, to force us (readers and policymakers) to look at the way various remedial plans actually succeed or fail.

For example, he believes that until we transform AFDC so that it reinforces rather than subverts American ideals about work and marriage, efforts to build a humane welfare state will never succeed. Other prescriptions, initially surprising and sometimes shocking, show demonstrable good sense once they are examined. As the author says, “If this book encourages readers to think about social policy more concretely, it will have served its primary purpose.”

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Safety Net
Welfare and Social Security, 1929-1979
Coll, Blanche D
Rutgers University Press, 1995

Beginning with the stock market crash of 1929, Blanche Coll documents the evolution of the federal and state government policymaking for welfare and Social Security, our "safety net."  As Coll points out, the policies that determine who is "entitled" to aid, how standard dollar amounts are set, child support responsibilities, the equitable fiscal division between state, federal, and local governments, and the resulting impact on the poorÐÐparticularly women and children of all racesÐÐhave fluctuated throughout the history of welfare.

Coll shows how demographic patterns, the definition of a family, the relative health of the economy, and Presidents' political agendas all deeply affect the system of entitlements to Social Security and welfare, the kernal of the American welfare state.

Safety Net  is the only comprehensive history of modern welfare in the United States. Clearly written and unpolemical, it is based on a wealth of primary sources, interviews with key policymakers, and the authoritative analysis of a trained historian who served as a research administrator in the federal government through Democractic and Republican administrations. Saftey Net will be indispensable reading for everyone concerned with contemporary debates about welfare and Social Security.

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front cover of Shaping the Discourse on Space
Shaping the Discourse on Space
Charity and Its Wards in Nineteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico
By Teresita Martínez-Vergne
University of Texas Press, 1999

As an inchoate middle class emerged in Puerto Rico in the early nineteenth century, its members sought to control not only public space, but also the people, activities, and even attitudes that filled it. Their instruments were the San Juan town council and the Casa de Beneficencia, a state-run charitable establishment charged with responsibility for the poor.

In this book, Teresita Martínez-Vergne explores how municipal officials and the Casa de Beneficencia shaped the discourse on public and private space and thereby marginalized the worthy poor and vagrants, "liberated" Africans, indigent and unruly women, and destitute children. Drawing on extensive and innovative archival research, she shows that the men who comprised the San Juan ayuntamiento and the board of charity regulated the public discourse on topics such as education, religious orthodoxy, hygiene, and family life, thereby establishing norms for "correct" social behavior and chastising the "deviant" lifestyles of the working poor.

This research clarifies the ways in which San Juan's middle class defined itself in the midst of rapid social and economic change. It also offers new insights into notions of citizenship and the process of nation-building in the Caribbean.

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Shelter Poverty
New Ideas on Housing Affordability
Michael E. Stone
Temple University Press, 1993
"...the most original--and profoundly disturbing--work on the critical issue of housing affordability...." --Chester Hartman, President, Poverty and Race Research Action Council In Shelter Poverty, Michael E. Stone presents the definitive discussion of housing and social justice in the United States. Challenging the conventional definition of housing affordability, Stone offers original and powerful insights about the nature, causes, and consequences of the affordability problem and presents creative and detailed proposals for solving a problem that afflicts one-third of this nation. Setting the housing crisis into broad political, economic, and historical contexts, Stone asks: What is shelter poverty? Why does it exist and persist? and How can it be overcome? Describing shelter poverty as the denial of a universal human need, Stone offers a quantitative scale by which to measure it and reflects on the social and economic implications of housing affordability in this country. He argues for "the right to housing" and presents a program for transforming a large proportion of the housing in this country from an expensive commodity into an affordable social entitlement. Employing new concepts of housing ownership, tenure, and finance, he favors social ownership in which market concepts have a useful but subordinate role in the identification of housing preferences and allocation. Stone concludes that political action around shelter poverty will further the goal of achieving a truly just and democratic society that is also equitably and responsibly productive and prosperous.
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Shifting the Color Line
Race and the American Welfare State
Robert C. Lieberman
Harvard University Press, 2001

Despite the substantial economic and political strides that African-Americans have made in this century, welfare remains an issue that sharply divides Americans by race. Shifting the Color Line explores the historical and political roots of enduring racial conflict in American welfare policy, beginning with the New Deal.

Through Social Security and other social insurance programs, white workers were successfully integrated into a strong national welfare state. At the same time, African-Americans--then as now disproportionately poor--were relegated to the margins of the welfare state, through decentralized, often racist, public assistance programs.

Over the next generation, these institutional differences had fateful consequences for African-Americans and their integration into American politics. Owing to its strong national structure, Social Security quickly became the closest thing we have to a universal, color-blind social program. On the other hand, public assistance--especially Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)--continued to treat African-Americans badly, while remaining politically weak and institutionally decentralized.

Racial distinctions were thus built into the very structure of the American welfare state. By keeping poor blacks at arm's length while embracing white workers, national welfare policy helped to construct the contemporary political divisions--middle-class versus poor, suburb versus city, and white versus black--that define the urban underclass.

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A Sister's Memories
The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott
Edited by John Sorensen
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Among the great figures of Progressive Era reform, Edith and Grace Abbott are perhaps the least sung. Peers, companions, and coworkers of legendary figures such as Jane Addams and Sophonisba Breckinridge, the Abbott sisters were nearly omnipresent in turn-of-the-century struggles to improve the lives of the poor and the working-class people who fed the industrial engines and crowded into diverse city neighborhoods. Grace’s innovative role as a leading champion for the rights of children, immigrants, and women earned her a key place in the history of the social justice movement. As her friend and colleague Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, Grace was “one of the great women of our day . . . a definite strength which we could count on for use in battle.”

A Sister’s Memories is the inspiring story of Grace Abbott (1878–1939), as told by her sister and social justice comrade, Edith Abbott (1876–1957). Edith recalls in vivid detail the Nebraska childhood, impressive achievements, and struggles of her sister who, as head of the Immigrants’ Protective League and the U.S. Children’s Bureau, championed children’s rights from the slums of Chicago to the villages of Appalachia. Grace’s crusade can perhaps be best summed up in her well-known credo: “Justice for all children is the high ideal in a democracy.” Her efforts saved the lives of thousands of children and immigrants and improved those of millions more. These trailblazing social service works led the way to the creation of the Social Security Act and UNICEF and caused the press to nickname her “The Mother of America’s 43 Million Children.” She was the first woman in American history to be nominated to the presidential cabinet and the first person to represent the United States at a committee of the League of Nations.

Edited by Abbott scholar John Sorensen, A Sister’s Memories is destined to become a classic. It shapes the diverse writings of Edith Abbott into a cohesive narrative for the first time and fills in the gaps of our understanding of Progressive Era reforms. Readers of all backgrounds will find themselves engrossed by this history of the unstoppable, pioneer feminist Abbott sisters.
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South Koreans in the Debt Crisis
The Creation of a Neoliberal Welfare Society
Jesook Song
Duke University Press, 2009
South Koreans in the Debt Crisis is a detailed examination of the logic underlying the neoliberal welfare state that South Korea created in response to the devastating Asian Debt Crisis (1997–2001). Jesook Song argues that while the government proclaimed that it would guarantee all South Koreans a minimum standard of living, it prioritized assisting those citizens perceived as embodying the neoliberal ideals of employability, flexibility, and self-sufficiency. Song demonstrates that the government was not alone in drawing distinctions between the “deserving” and the “undeserving” poor. Progressive intellectuals, activists, and organizations also participated in the neoliberal reform project. Song traces the circulation of neoliberal concepts throughout South Korean society, among government officials, the media, intellectuals, NGO members, and educated underemployed people working in public works programs. She analyzes the embrace of partnerships between NGOs and the government, the frequent invocation of a pervasive decline in family values, the resurrection of conservative gender norms and practices, and the promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to survival.

Drawing on her experience during the crisis as an employee in a public works program in Seoul, Song provides an ethnographic assessment of the efforts of the state and civilians to regulate social insecurity, instability, and inequality through assistance programs. She focuses specifically on efforts to help two populations deemed worthy of state subsidies: the “IMF homeless,” people temporarily homeless but considered employable, and the “new intellectuals,” young adults who had become professionally redundant during the crisis but had the high-tech skills necessary to lead a transformed post-crisis South Korea.

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The Submerged State
How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy
Suzanne Mettler
University of Chicago Press, 2011

“Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” Such comments spotlight a central question animating Suzanne Mettler’s provocative and timely book: why are many Americans unaware of government social benefits and so hostile to them in principle, even though they receive them? The Obama administration has been roundly criticized for its inability to convey how much it has accomplished for ordinary citizens. Mettler argues that this difficulty is not merely a failure of communication; rather it is endemic to the formidable presence of the “submerged state.”

In recent decades, federal policymakers have increasingly shunned the outright disbursing of benefits to individuals and families and favored instead less visible and more indirect incentives and subsidies, from tax breaks to payments for services to private companies. These submerged policies, Mettler shows, obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry. Neither do they realize that the policies of the submerged state shower their largest benefits on the most affluent Americans, exacerbating inequality. Mettler analyzes three Obama reforms—student aid, tax relief, and health care—to reveal the submerged state and its consequences, demonstrating how structurally difficult it is to enact policy reforms and even to obtain public recognition for achieving them. She concludes with recommendations for reform to help make hidden policies more visible and governance more comprehensible to all Americans.

The sad truth is that many American citizens do not know how major social programs work—or even whether they benefit from them. Suzanne Mettler’s important new book will bring government policies back to the surface and encourage citizens to reclaim their voice in the political process.

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They Say Cutback, We Say Fight Back!
Welfare Activism in an Era of Retrenchment
Ellen Reese
Russell Sage Foundation, 2012
In 1996, President Bill Clinton hailed the "end of welfare as we know it" when he signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. The law effectively transformed the nation's welfare system from an entitlement to a work-based one, instituting new time limits on welfare payments and restrictions on public assistance for legal immigrants. In They Say Cutback, We Say Fight Back, Ellen Reese offers a timely review of welfare reform and its controversial design, now sorely tested in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The book also chronicles the largely untold story of a new grassroots coalition that opposed the law and continues to challenge and reshape its legacy. While most accounts of welfare policy highlight themes of race, class and gender, They Say Cutback examines how welfare recipients and their allies contested welfare reform from the bottom-up. Using in-depth case studies of campaigns in Wisconsin and California, Reese argues that a crucial phase in policymaking unfolded after the bill's passage. As counties and states set out to redesign their welfare programs, activists scored significant victories by lobbying officials at different levels of American government through media outreach, protests and organizing. Such efforts tended to enjoy more success when based on broad coalitions that cut across race and class, drawing together a shifting alliance of immigrants, public sector unions, feminists, and the poor. The book tracks the tensions and strategies of this unwieldy group brought together inadvertently by their opposition to four major aspects of welfare reform: immigrants' benefits, welfare-to-work policies, privatization of welfare agencies, and child care services. Success in scoring reversals was uneven and subject to local demographic, political and institutional factors. In California, for example, workfare policies created a large and concentrated pool of new workers that public sector unions could organize in campaigns to change policies. In Wisconsin, by contrast, such workers were scattered and largely placed in private sector jobs, leaving unions at a disadvantage. Large Latino and Asian immigrant populations in California successfully lobbied to restore access to public assistance programs, while mobilization in Wisconsin remained more limited. On the other hand, the unionization of child care providers succeeded in Wisconsin – but failed in California – because of contrasting gubernatorial politics. With vivid descriptions of the new players and alliances in each of these campaigns, Reese paints a nuanced and complex portrait of the modern American welfare state. At a time when more than 40 million Americans live in poverty, They Say Cutback offers a sobering assessment of the nation's safety net. As policymakers confront budget deficits and a new era of austerity, this book provides an authoritative guide for both scholars and activists looking for lessons to direct future efforts to change welfare policy. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
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The Transformation of Solidarity
Changing Risks and the Future of the Welfare State
Edited by Romke van der Veen, Mara Yerkes, and Peter Achterberg
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
This pioneering study investigates the consequences of social indivualization and economic globalization on the welfare state. With a particular focus on solidarity, or the willingness to accept shared risks, the editors look at the dynamics between the aging and the young, the healthy and the sick, and the working and unemployed within welfare states. The Transformation of Solidarity translates recent changes in the global economy into risk management strategies for businesses, unions, and government administrators, while pinpointing how the public views these risks. The editors of this important volume bring together a wide range of papers that approach this topic from a variety of perspectives, and they provide a vital new tool for understanding how welfare states operate.
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Trapped in America's Safety Net
One Family's Struggle
Andrea Louise Campbell
University of Chicago Press, 2014
When Andrea Louise Campbell’s sister-in-law, Marcella Wagner, was run off the freeway by a hit-and-run driver, she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant. She survived—and, miraculously, the baby was born healthy. But that’s where the good news ends. Marcella was left paralyzed from the chest down. This accident was much more than just a physical and emotional tragedy. Like so many Americans—50 million, or one-sixth of the country’s population—neither Marcella nor her husband, Dave, who works for a small business, had health insurance. On the day of the accident, she was on her way to class for the nursing program through which she hoped to secure one of the few remaining jobs in the area with the promise of employer-provided insurance. Instead, the accident plunged the young family into the tangled web of means-tested social assistance.
          
As a social policy scholar, Campbell thought she knew a lot about means-tested assistance programs. What she quickly learned was that missing from most government manuals and scholarly analyses was an understanding of how these programs actually affect the lives of the people who depend on them. Using Marcella and Dave’s situation as a case in point, she reveals their many shortcomings in Trapped in America’s Safety Net. Because American safety net programs are designed for the poor, Marcella and Dave first had to spend down their assets and drop their income to near-poverty level before qualifying for help. What’s more, to remain eligible, they will have to stay under these strictures for the rest of their lives, meaning they are barred from doing many of the things middle-class families are encouraged to do: Save for retirement. Develop an emergency fund. Take advantage of tax-free college savings. And, while Marcella and Dave’s story is tragic, the financial precariousness they endured even before the accident is all too common in America, where the prevalence of low-income work and unequal access to education have generated vast—and growing—economic inequality. The implementation of Obamacare has cut the number of uninsured and underinsured and reduced some of the disparities in coverage, but it continues to leave too many people open to tremendous risk.

Behind the statistics and beyond the ideological battles are human beings whose lives are stunted by policies that purport to help them. In showing how and why this happens, Trapped in America’s Safety Net offers a way to change it.
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United States Welfare Policy
A Catholic Response
Thomas J. Massaro, SJ
Georgetown University Press, 2007

The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 drastically changed the delivery of social services in the United States for the first time in sixty years. More than a decade later, according to Catholic social ethicist Thomas Massaro, a disturbing gap exists between the laws we have enacted as a nation and the moral concerns we profess as a people.

Massaro contends that ethicists too often focus on strictly theoretical concerns rather than engaging concrete social and political issues, while public policy experts are uncomfortable drawing ethical judgments about legislation. United States Welfare Policy takes a fresh approach to the topic by using Catholic social teaching as a lens through which to view contemporary American welfare policies, citing the tradition's emphasis on serving the needy—including a preferential option for the poor—and the common good.

Massaro maintains that the most important outcome of welfare policy is not the cost-effectiveness of programs, but the well-being of individual families. The concluding analysis of this thoughtful study applies Catholic ethical concerns to specific aspects of welfare reform, including the funding mechanisms for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, work participation requirements affecting the bond between mothers and children, eligibility rules, the intrusion of family caps into reproductive decisions, and the imposition of disproportionate burdens upon particular demographic groups.

Massaro offers possible alternatives in each case and, as the fight over reauthorization of the welfare act continues, he calls on Catholic churches and clergy and laity to take action and advocate publicly for a more ethical approach to welfare reform.

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Unsocial Europe
Social Protection Or Flexploitation?
Anne Gray
Pluto Press, 2004

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Unwanted Claims
The Politics of Participation in the U.S. Welfare System
Joe Soss
University of Michigan Press, 2002
Large numbers of Americans claim public resources and participate in direct relationships with government through the diversity of welfare programs found in the United States. Most public debates ignore the political importance of these activities, focusing instead on the economic and moral questions raised by welfare policy. By contrast, Unwanted Claims asks how different types of welfare programs, such as social insurance and public assistance, affect the lives of ordinary citizens. The author investigates why citizens turn to welfare programs, how they view the welfare system, and what they learn from experiences in welfare programs about themselves and government. The analysis shows that the welfare system plays a surprisingly important and sometimes contradictory role in modern political life. Depending on their designs, welfare programs can draw citizens into a more inclusive and vibrant democracy or treat them in ways that reinforce their social and political marginality.
Unwanted Claims is a work of political sociology that provides an illuminating account of political life in the U.S. welfare system that should be of interest to scholars, students, policy practitioners, and the general public. Written in a style that minimizes technical jargon, avoids complex statistical presentations, and makes extensive use of clients' own descriptions of their experiences, beliefs, and actions, it offers an accessible and humanizing portrait of welfare participation that challenges conventional wisdom and raises important questions about poverty, welfare, and democracy in America.
Joe Soss is Assistant Professor of Government, The American University.
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Urban Planning in the Nordic World
Ellen Braae
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022

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Visions of Poverty
Welfare Policy and Political Imagination
Robert Asen
Michigan State University Press, 2002
Images of poverty shape the debate surrounding it. In 1996, then President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform legislation repealing the principal federal program providing monetary assistance to poor families, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). With the president's signature this originally non-controversial program became the only title of the 1935 Social Security Act to be repealed. The legislation culminated a retrenchment era in welfare policy beginning in the early 1980s.
     To understand completely the welfare policy debates of the last half of the 20th Century, the various images of poor people that were present must be considered. Visions of Poverty explores these images and the policy debates of the retrenchment era, recounting the ways in which images of the poor appeared in these debates, relaying shifts in images that took place over time, and revealing how images functioned in policy debates to advantage some positions and disadvantage others. Looking to the future, Visions of Poverty demonstrates that any future policy agenda must first come to terms with the vivid, disabling images of the poor that continue to circulate. In debating future reforms, participants-whose ranks should include potential recipients-ought to imagine poor people anew.
     This ground breaking study in policymaking and cultural imagination will be of particular interest to scholars in rhetorical studies, political science, history, and public policy.
 
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Wages, Welfare Costs and Inflation in Classical Athens
William T. Loomis
University of Michigan Press, 1999
William T. Loomis examines all surviving Athenian wages, salaries, welfare payments and other labor costs to determine what people really were paid for various kinds of work and allowances. These determinations, in turn, enable the author to cast a new and authoritative light on three controversial questions: Was there a "standard wage" in Athens? Were there periods of inflation and deflation? Did Athenians have an "embedded" or a "market" economy?
Individual chapters critically examine each surviving wage or other payment in thirteen job categories, including public office holders; soldiers and sailors; priests, oracles, and seers; overseers, architects, and other salaried construction personnel; and prostitutes and pimps. Three additional chapters then consider whether there was a "standard wage," inflation and deflation in Athens, and the implications of these conclusions for the hotly debated question about the nature of the Athenian economy.
This is the first comprehensive study of Athenian labor and welfare costs since August Böckh's Die Staatshaushaltung der Athener (1886). An updated critical study has been much needed, to take account of the greatly expanded evidence (Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians, more than a dozen other papyrus texts and hundreds of inscriptions), and the uneven quality of the sources. This collection allows William T. Loomis to argue--contrary to prevailing scholarly opinion--that there never was a "standard wage" at Athens.
"This volume will be a significant contribution to all studies of ancient Greek civilization." --Alan L. Boegehold, Brown University
William Loomis is Visiting Professor of Classics, University of Michigan.
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Welfare Discipline
Discourse, Governance and Globalization
Sanford F. Schram
Temple University Press, 2005
For the past decade, political scientist Sanford Schram has led the academic effort to understand how Americans and their political officials talk about poverty and welfare and what impact that discourse has on policy and on the global society.

In Welfare Discipline, Schram argues that it is time to take stock of the new forms of welfare and to develop even better methods to understand them. He argues for a more contextualized approach to examining welfare policy, from the use of the idea of globalization to justify cutbacks, to the increasing employment of U.S. policy discourse overseas, to the development of asset-based approaches to helping the poor.

Stressing the importance of understanding the ways we talk about welfare, how we study it, and, critically, what we do not discuss and why, Schram offers recommendations for making welfare policy both just and effective.
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Welfare in America
How Social Science Fails the Poor
William M. Epstein
University of Wisconsin Press, 1997

William M. Epstein charges that most current social welfare programs are not held to credible standards in their design or their results. Rather than spending less on such research and programs, however, Epstein suggests we should spend much more, and do the job right.
     The American public and policymakers need to rely on social science research for objective, credible information when trying to solve problems of employment, affordable housing, effective health care, and family integrity. But, Epstein contends, politicians treat welfare issues as ideological battlegrounds; they demand immediate results from questionable data and implement policies long before social researchers can complete their analyses. Social scientists often play into the political agenda, supporting poorly conceived programs and doing little to test and revise them. Analyzing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the recent welfare reform act, Food Stamps, Medicaid, job training, social services, and other programs, Epstein systematically challenges the conservative’s vain hope that neglect is therapeutic for the poor, as well as the liberal’s conceit that a little bit of assistance is sufficient.

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Welfare Policy for the 1990s
Phoebe H. Cottingham
Harvard University Press, 1989

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Welfare Policymaking in the States
The Devil in Devolution
Pamela Winston
Georgetown University Press, 2002

Now that responsibility for welfare policy has devolved from Washington to the states, Pamela Winston examines how the welfare policymaking process has changed. Under the welfare reform act of 1996, welfare was the first and most basic safety net program to be sent back to state control. Will the shift help or further diminish programs for low-income people, especially the millions of children who comprise the majority of the poor in the United States?

In this book, Winston probes the nature of state welfare politics under devolution and contrasts it with welfare politics on the national level. Starting with James Madison's argument that the range of perspectives and interests found in state policymaking will be considerably narrower than in Washington, she analyzes the influence of interest groups and other key actors in the legislative process at both the state and national levels. She compares the legislative process during the 104th Congress (1995-96) with that in three states — Maryland, Texas, and North Dakota — and finds that the debates in the states saw a more limited range of participants, with fewer of them representing poor people, and fewer competing ideas.

The welfare reform bill of 1996 comes up for renewal in 2002. At stake in the U.S. experiment in welfare reform are principles of equal opportunity, fairness, and self-determination as well as long-term concerns for political and social stability. This investigation of the implications of the changing pattern of welfare politics will interest scholars and teachers of social policy, federalism, state politics, and public policy generally, and general readers interested in social policy, state politics, social justice, and American politics.

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Welfare Reform
Jeffrey Grogger and Lynn A. Karoly
Harvard University Press, 2005

During the 1990s the United States undertook the greatest social policy reform since the Social Security Act of 1935. In Welfare Reform: Effects of a Decade of Change, Jeffrey Grogger and Lynn Karoly assemble evidence from numerous studies, including nearly three dozen social experiments, to assess how welfare reform has affected behavior. To broaden our understanding of this wide-ranging policy reform, the authors evaluate the evidence in relation to an economic model of behavior. The evidence they collect reveals the trade-offs that policymakers face in achieving the conflicting goals of promoting work, reducing dependency, and alleviating need among the poor. Finally, the authors identify numerous areas where important gaps remain in our understanding of the effects of welfare reform.

The book will be a crucial resource for policy economists, social policy specialists, other professionals concerned with welfare policy, and students.

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Welfare Reform and Political Theory
Lawrence M. Mead
Russell Sage Foundation, 2005
During the 1990s, both the United States and Britain shifted from entitlement to work-based systems for supporting their poor citizens. Much research has examined the implications of welfare reform for the economic well-being of the poor, but the new legislation also affects our view of democracy—and how it ought to function. By eliminating entitlement and setting behavioral conditions on aid, welfare reform challenges our understanding of citizenship, political equality, and the role of the state. In Welfare Reform and Political Theory, editors Lawrence Mead and Christopher Beem have assembled an accomplished list of political theorists, social policy experts, and legal scholars to address how welfare reform has affected core concepts of political theory and our understanding of democracy itself. Welfare Reform and Political Theory is unified by a common set of questions. The contributors come from across the political spectrum, each bringing different perspectives to bear. Carole Pateman argues that welfare reform has compromised the very tenets of democracy by tying the idea of citizenship to participation in the marketplace. But William Galston writes that American citizenship has in some respects always been conditioned on good behavior; work requirements continue that tradition by promoting individual responsibility and self-reliance—values essential to a well-functioning democracy. Desmond King suggests that work requirements draw invidious distinctions among citizens and therefore destroy political equality. Amy Wax, on the other hand, contends that ending entitlement does not harm notions of equality, but promotes them, by ensuring that no one is rewarded for idleness. Christopher Beem argues that entitlement welfare served a social function—acknowledging the social value of care—that has been lost in the movement towards conditional benefits. Stuart White writes that work requirements can be accepted only subject to certain conditions, while Lawrence Mead argues that concerns about justice must be addressed only after recipients are working. Alan Deacon is well to the left of Joel Schartz, but both say government may actively promote virtue through social policy—a stance some other contributors reject. The move to work-centered welfare in the 1990s represented not just a change in government policy, but a philosophical change in the way people perceived government, its functions, and its relationship with citizens. Welfare Reform and Political Theory offers a long overdue theoretical reexamination of democracy and citizenship in a workfare society.
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WELFARE REFORM IN WEST VIRGINIA
ROBERT J. DILGER
West Virginia University Press, 2004

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Welfare
The Social Issues in Philosophical Perspective
Nicholas Rescher
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972
Nicholas Rescher examines the controversial social issue of the welfare state, and offers philosophical thoughts on the limits and liabilities of government and society. Questioning some of the principal assumptions of democratic theory and classical liberalism, Rescher theorizes that the current system is not a be-all end-all, but rather a necessity with limited scope that will ultimately fail to achieve its objectives. He further purports that the welfare state must be a transitional phase to a more affluent postindustrial society-a satisfying life, rather than an adequate one.
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The White Welfare State
The Racialization of U.S. Welfare Policy
Deborah E. Ward
University of Michigan Press, 2005
The White Welfare State challenges common misconceptions of the development of U.S. welfare policy. Arguing that race has always been central to welfare policy-making in the United States, Deborah Ward breaks new ground by showing that the Mothers' Pensions--the Progressive-Era precursors to modern welfare programs--were premised on a policy of racial discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Ward's rigorous and thoroughly documented analysis demonstrates that the creation and implementation of the mothers' pensions program was driven by debates about who "deserved" social welfare and not who needed it the most.

"In The White Welfare State, Deborah Ward assembles a powerful array of documentary and statistical evidence to reveal the mechanisms, centrality, and deep historical continuity of racial exclusion in modern 'welfare' provision in the United States. Bringing unparalleled scrutiny to the provisions and implementation of state-level mothers' pensions, she argues persuasively that racialized patterns of welfare administration were firmly entrenched in this Progressive Era legislation, only to be adopted and reinforced in the New Deal welfare state. With rigorous and clear-eyed analysis, she pushes us to confront the singular role of race in welfare's development, from its early 20th-century origins to its official demise at century's end."
--Alice O'Connor, University of California at Santa Barbara

"This is a richly informative and arresting work. The White Welfare State will force a reevaluation of the role racism has played as a fundamental feature in even the most progressive features of the American welfare state. Written elegantly, this book will provoke a wide-ranging discussion among social scientists, historians, and students of public policy."
--Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

"This book offers an original and absorbing account of early policies that shaped the course of the American welfare state. It extends yet challenges extant interpretations and expands our understanding of the interconnections of race and class issues in the U.S., and American political development more broadly."
--Rodney Hero, University of Notre Dame
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Why Americans Hate Welfare
Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy
Martin Gilens
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Tackling one of the most volatile issues in contemporary politics, Martin Gilens's work punctures myths and misconceptions about welfare policy, public opinion, and the role of the media in both. Why Americans Hate Welfare shows that the public's views on welfare are a complex mixture of cynicism and compassion; misinformed and racially charged, they nevertheless reflect both a distrust of welfare recipients and a desire to do more to help the "deserving" poor.

"With one out of five children currently living in poverty and more than 100,000 families with children now homeless, Gilens's book is must reading if you want to understand how the mainstream media have helped justify, and even produce, this state of affairs." —Susan Douglas, The Progressive
"Gilens's well-written and logically developed argument deserves to be taken seriously." —Choice

"A provocative analysis of American attitudes towards 'welfare.'. . . [Gilens] shows how racial stereotypes, not white self-interest or anti-statism, lie at the root of opposition to welfare programs." -Library Journal

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Women and Welfare
Theory and Practice in the United States and Europe
Hirschmann, Nancy J
Rutgers University Press, 2001

The social welfare state is believed by many to be one of the great achievements of Western democracy in the twentieth century. It institutionalized for the first time a collective commitment to improving individual life chances and social well-being. However, as we move into a new century, the social welfare state everywhere has come under increasing pressure, raising serious doubts about its survival.

Featuring essays by experts from a variety of fields, including law, comparative politics, sociology, economics, cultural studies, philosophy, and political theory, Women and Welfare represents an interdisciplinary, multimethodological and multicultural feminist approach to recent changes in the welfare system of Western industrialized nations. The broad perspective, from the philosophical to the quantitative, provides an excellent overview of the subject and the most recent scholarly literature. The volume offers a crosscultural  analysis of welfare “reform” in the 1990s, visions of what a “woman-friendly” welfare state requires, and an examination of theoretical and policy questions feminists and concerned others should be asking.

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Women, the State, and Welfare
Edited by Linda Gordon
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990
Women, the State, and Welfare is the first collection of essays specifically about women and welfare in the United States.  As an introduction to the effects of welfare programs, it is intended for general readers as well as specialists in sociology, history, political science, social work, and women’s studies.  The book begins with a review essay by Linda Gordon that outlines current scholarship about women and welfare.  The chapters that follow explore discrimination against women inherent in many welfare programs; the ways in which welfare programs reinforce basic gender programs in society; the contribution of organized, activist women to the development of welfare programs; and differences of race and class in the welfare system.  By giving readers access to a number of perspectives about women and welfare, this book helps position gender at the center of welfare scholarship and policy making and places welfare issues at the forefront of feminist thinking and action.
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Work Requirements
Race, Disability, and the Print Culture of Social Welfare
Todd Carmody
Duke University Press, 2022
Throughout the history of the United States, work-based social welfare practices have served to affirm the moral value of work. In the late nineteenth century this representational project came to be mediated by the printed word with the emergence of industrial print technologies, the expansion of literacy, and the rise of professionalization. In Work Requirements Todd Carmody asks how work, even the most debasing or unproductive labor, came to be seen as inherently meaningful during this era. He explores how the print culture of social welfare—produced by public administrators, by economic planners, by social scientists, and in literature and the arts—tasked people on the social and economic margins, specifically racial minorities, incarcerated people, and people with disabilities, with shoring up the fundamental dignity of work as such. He also outlines how disability itself became a tool of social discipline, defined by bureaucratized institutions as the inability to work. By interrogating the representational effort necessary to make work seem inherently meaningful, Carmody ultimately reveals a forgotten history of competing efforts to think social belonging beyond or even without work.
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Workers and Welfare
Comparative Institutional Change in Twentieth-Century Mexico
Michelle L. Dion
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010
After the revolutionary period of 1910-1920, Mexico developed a number of social protection programs to support workers in public and private sectors and to establish safeguards for the poor and the aged. These included pensions, healthcare, and worker's compensation. The new welfare programs were the product of a complex interrelationship of corporate, labor, and political actors. In this unique dynamic, cross-class coalitions maintained both an authoritarian regime and social protection system for some seventy years, despite the ebb and flow of political and economic tides.

By focusing on organized labor, and its powerful role in effecting institutional change, Workers and Welfare chronicles the development and evolution of Mexican social insurance institutions in the twentieth century. Beginning with the antecedents of social insurance and the adoption of pension programs for central government workers in 1925, Dion's analysis shows how the labor movement, up until the 1990s, was instrumental in expanding welfare programs, but has since become largely ineffective. Despite stepped-up efforts, labor has seen the retrenchment of many benefits. Meanwhile, Dion cites the debt crisis, neoliberal reform, and resulting changes in the labor market as all contributing to a rise in poverty. Today, Mexican welfare programs emphasize poverty alleviation, in a marked shift away from social insurance benefits for the working class.
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