PSCI 446: The Politics of the Welfare State
During the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the advanced industrialized democracies in Europe and North America set up extensive social welfare systems in order to reduce class inequalities and eliminate risks across the life cycle. These included income support, family benefits, health care, pensions, unemployment, disability insurance, and child care programs. Beginning in the 1970s, these social welfare programs faced a variety of social and economic challenges, including the aging of the population, globalization, changes in family structure, the feminization of the labor force, and de-industialization. This has led to welfare retrenchment and restructuring. In this seminar, we examine the different welfare regimes across the United States and Europe and discuss the challenges confronting postwar welfare arrangements. We explore at the politics surrounding the creation and retrenchment of welfare states across different political settings and in specific policy areas including pensions, health care, and family policy and we look at the future of the social welfare state. Prerequisites: junior standing or permission of instructor. Offered every two years.