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date: 17 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article addresses the broader sense of ‘welfare reform’. First, it briefly outlines political science writing about British social policy in the immediate post-war era in order to contrast it with the ‘new politics of welfare’ that some commentators see emerging internationally after the economic crises of the 1970s. It explores how far such a description fits the British case. Moreover, it presents a comparison of welfare reform, in its narrower sense, in the USA and the UK to show how different institutional traditions produce different responses to apparently similar social and economic changes. Changes in politics of welfare have taken place in the nature of state involvement as society has changed. Policy is significantly influenced by the historical legacy of institutions, as it can be seen in the comparison of American and British interpretations of ‘welfare reform’.

Keywords: welfare reform, USA, UK, British social policy, new politics

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