Chapter

The Politics of Helping the Poor

Lane Kenworthy

in Progress for the Poor

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199591527
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591527.003.0011
The Politics of Helping the Poor

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Given its political institutions—a privatized system of campaign financing, a federal government structure, extensive separation of powers within the federal government, a bicameral parliament, the filibuster practice in the Senate, and the lack of a truly left political party, among others—it is not surprising that the United States is a laggard in social policy generosity among the rich countries. Yet the world of social policy is not a deterministic one. Structures and institutions constrain, but they do not dictate outcomes. Examples from America’s past and from recent developments in other rich countries suggest reason for guarded optimism about the potential for policy more conducive to progress for the poor.

Keywords: American social policy; institutions; public opinion; New Labour

Chapter.  2518 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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