Political Science | American Social Welfare
Y326 | 23408 | 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 foundations 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.