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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2008

GOV 355M • Social Policy in the US

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39465 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 201
Karch, A

Course Description

This course examines the politics of social policy in the United States. The first half of the course places the United States in comparative perspective. Scholars often describe the United States as a "laggard" where social policies developed relatively late, grew relatively slowly, and are less generous than corresponding policies in the advanced industrial democracies of Europe. What are the sources of these differences? How have political culture, interest groups, political institutions, and other factors contributed to the unusual shape of American social policy? The second half of the course examines recent trends in American social policy, focusing on five specific policy arenas: Social Security, income support, health care, immigration, and education. It examines the historical origins of contemporary American policies and recent reform proposals.

Grading Policy

Grading Policy (Tentative): Midterm exam--30% Take home essay--30% Final exam--40%


Texts (Tentative): Jacob S. Hacker, The Divided Welfare State (Cambridge, 2002) Christopher Howard, The Hidden Welfare State (Princeton, 1997) Reading packet


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