Dismantling the Welfare State?: Reagan, Thatcher and the Politics of Retrenchment
This book offers a careful analysis of the politics of social policy in an era of austerity and conservative governance. Focusing on the administrations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Pierson provides a compelling explanation for the welfare state's durability and for the few occasions in which each government was able to achieve significant cutbacks. Pierson's account draws on recent work in "historical institutionalism" and rational-choice theory to fashion an important argument about contemporary policy-making. The politics of retrenchment, he argues, is fundamentally different from that of welfare state expansion. The programs of the modern welfare state - the "policy legacies" of previous governments - generally proved resistant to reform. Hemmed in by the political supports that have developed around mature social programs, conservative opponents of the welfare state were successful only when they were able to divide the supporters of social programs, compensate those negatively affected, or hide what they were doing from potential critics. This book will be of interest to those in the fields of comparative public policy and political economy as well as to those concerned with the development of the modern welfare state.
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The logic of retrenchment
Interests institutions and policy feedback
The politics of programmatic retrenchment
Retrenchment in a core sector oldage pensions
Retrenchment in a vulnerable sector housing policy
Retrenchment in a residualized sector incomesupport policy
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AFDC agenda American analysis argued Britain British budget central Chapter Child Benefit Congress Congressional Congressional Quarterly conservative costs council housing cutbacks cuts deficit earnings-related economic effects electoral federal food stamps fund health-care HM Treasury Housing Benefit housing policy impact important incentives income increased initiatives interest groups labor legislation limited low-income housing major means-tested programs Medicaid Medicare ment million Norman Fowler outcomes parliamentary systems pension percent policy change policy feedback policymakers political institutions poor position poverty poverty line pressures produced programmatic retrenchment proposals public housing public policies radical reform Reagan administration Reagan administration's Reagan and Thatcher recipients reduce retrenchment advocates retrenchment politics revenues role sector SERPS shift significant Skocpol social policy social programs Social Security spending structure subsidies substantial success systemic retrenchment targeted Thatcher government Thatcher government's Theda Skocpol unem unemployment unions United University Press vouchers vulnerable welfare state's workfare