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

Fall 2009

GOV 355M • Social Policy in the United States

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39185 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 are corresponding policies in other advanced industrial democracies. What are the political sources of these programmatic differences? How have political culture, interest groups, government institutions, and other factors contributed to the distinctive shape of American social policy? The second half of the course examines recent trends in American social policy, focusing on four policy areas: Social Security, income support, health care, and education. It examines the historical origins of contemporary American policies and recent reform proposals.

Grading Policy

Midterm Exam I: 30% Midterm Exam II: 30% Final Exam: 40%


Jacob S. Hacker, The Divided Welfare State (Cambridge, 2002) Christopher Howard, The Welfare State Nobody Knows (Princeton, 2007) Reading packet


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