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The Divided Welfare State: The Battle Over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United Statesby Jacob S. Hacker
Synopses & Reviews
The Divided Welfare State is the first comprehensive political analysis of America's distinctive system of public and private social benefits. Everyone knows that the American welfare state is unusual--less expensive and extensive, later to develop and slower to grow, than comparable programs abroad. Yet, U.S. social policy does not stand out solely for its limits. American social spending is actually as high as spending is in many European nations. What is truly distinctive is that so many social welfare duties are handled not by the state, but by the private sector with government support. With sweeping historical reach and a wealth of statistical and cross-national evidence, The Divided Welfare State demonstrates that private social benefits have not merely been shaped by public policy, but have deeply influenced the politics of public social programs--to produce a social policy framework whose political and social effects are strikingly different than often assumed. At a time of fierce new debates about social policy, this book is essential to understanding the roots of America's distinctive model and its future possibilities. Jacob S. Hacker is the Peter Strauss Family Assistant Profesor of Political Science at Yale University. Previously, he was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and Fellow at the New America Foundation as well as a Guest Scholar and Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton's Plan for Health Security (Princeton, 1997), which was co-winner of the 1997 Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration. His articles and opinion pieces have appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Washington Post. A regular media commentator, he has discussed his work widely on C-Span, national public radio and in papers nationwide.
Book News Annotation:
Hacker (political science, Yale U.) argues that neither the structure nor the politics of American welfare politics can be understood without a serious consideration of private social benefits (such as employer-paid health insurance) and the public policy regarding them. Just as public programs can create constituencies that fight against change, so can these private social benefits. This, argues Hacker, explains much of the difficulty in expanding the limits of public programs.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book examines the political relationship between government social programs, such as Social Security, and private social benefits, such as workplace health insurance. The book's core argument is that the extensive development of private benefits particularly in the health field helps explain why American public social programs are more limited than those abroad, because private benefits have fostered constituencies and institutions just as powerful and entrenched as those created by government programs.
This book examines the political relationship between government social programs and private social benefits.
Table of Contents
Part I. The American Welfare Regime: 1. The politics of public and private social benefits; Part II. The Politics of Public and Private Pensions: 2. Connected at birth: public and private pensions before 1945; 3. Sibling rivalry: public and private pensions after 1945; Part III. The Politics of Public and Private Health Insurance: 4. Seeds of exceptionalism: public and private health insurance before 1945; 5. The elusive cure: public and private health insurance after 1945; Part IV. The Formation and Future of the American Welfare Regime: 6. The formation of the American welfare regime; 7. The future of the American welfare regime.
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