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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the United States, the welfare state has long been a source of political and academic debate, and this volume pulls together much of our current knowledge about its origins, development, functions, and challenges. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the volume’s main themes and sections. For example, many of the following chapters emphasize the public-private mix in social policy, in which the government helps certain groups of citizens directly (e.g., through social insurance) or indirectly (e.g., through tax expenditures and regulations). Many chapters stress disjointed patterns of policy-making, which can lead simultaneously to problems of high cost and low impact on poverty and inequality. Even under a variety of stresses, however, much of the American welfare state remains quite resilient. The contributing authors are experts from political science, sociology, history, economics, and other social sciences.

Keywords: United States, welfare state, social policy, public-private mix, social insurance, social provision, poverty, inequality

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