Political Science | American Social Welfare Policy
Y326 | 3369 | Tilton


The ability to assess the performance of public institutions and policies is
an important part of our role as citizens.  In order to make sound
evaluations we need, at a minimum, to be clear about our values and about
the functioning of the institutions and policies in question.  In this
course we shall begin by looking at the various ideological foundations for
welfare policy in an effort to clarify the values that each of us thinks
should guide the formation and evaluation of policy.  Next we shall consider
the peculiarities of the American welfare state in comparative and
historical perspective.  Then we shall examine three specific policy
areas-social security and pensions, anti-poverty policy, and healthcare; in
each area we shall trace the development of policy, outline current
programs, study the politics that surround these programs, and finally
analyze proposals for reform of current arrangements.  The course will
conclude with a brief overview of the welfare state and its future
prospects.  In order to do a good job in the course you will want to think
about what welfare policy should be, to learn some basic facts about what
welfare policy actually is, and to appreciate the problems and the issues
involved in moving actual policies closer to your ideals.