Social policy in the US: workfare and the American low-wage labour market

S.M. Miller and Jeanette E. Markle

in World poverty

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9781861343956
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304340 | DOI:
Social policy in the US: workfare and the American low-wage labour market

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This chapter focuses on the change in US social policy from welfare to workfare, and the importance of making improvements in the low-wage labour market to making this a successful transition. The political and social environment in which this transition is occurring includes two recent trends in US public policy: privatisation, and a general reduction in the role of the government. A major difficulty in constructing effective social policy is the inadequate US measure of poverty. The chapter argues that if the situation of workfare participants and other low-income persons is to be improved, then the low-wage labour market must be better coordinated with strong social programmes. The private sector alone cannot provide a decent standard of living in its current form. Lessons can be drawn from the experience of the US by other nations grappling with similar issues.

Keywords: US social policy; labour market; privatisation; social programmes

Chapter.  15047 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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