The Battle Over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States
The Divided Welfare State is the first comprehensive political analysis of America’s distinctive system of public and private social benefits. Everyone knows that the American welfare state is unusual–less expensive and extensive, later to develop and slower to grow, than comparable programs abroad.
Yet, U.S. social policy does not stand out solely for its limits. American social spending is actually as high as spending is in many European nations. What is truly distinctive is that so many social welfare duties are handled not by the state, but by the private sector with government support.
With sweeping historical reach and a wealth of statistical and cross-national evidence, The Divided Welfare State demonstrates that private social benefits have not merely been shaped by public policy, but have deeply influenced the politics of public social programs–to produce a social policy framework whose political and social effects are strikingly different than often assumed. At a time of fierce new debates about social policy, this book is essential to understanding the roots of America’s distinctive model and its future possibilities.
“The strengths of Hacker's approach stem from the exhaustive historical research that he undertook, his mastery of detail, and his clarity of presentation. . . His scholarship is thorough enough to impress just about anyone.”
—The New Republic
“Hacker's study is an important resource for understanding why enactment of universal health insurance has been so difficult. His analysis is original and insightful.”
—Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
“A work of extraordinary historical sweep and analytic power, The Divided Welfare State offers a provocative new angle of vision on the politics of social policy in the United States. Hacker's book is a must-read.”
—Theda Skocpol, Director of the Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University