How Policies Make Citizens Senior Political Activism and the American Welfare State

ISBN-10: 0691122504
ISBN-13: 9780691122502
Edition: 2005
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Description: Some groups participate in politics more than others. Why? And does it matter for policy outcomes? In this richly detailed and fluidly written book, Andrea Campbell argues that democratic participation and public policy powerfully reinforce each  More...

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Book details

List price: $37.50
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 2/13/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

Some groups participate in politics more than others. Why? And does it matter for policy outcomes? In this richly detailed and fluidly written book, Andrea Campbell argues that democratic participation and public policy powerfully reinforce each other. Through a case study of senior citizens in the United States and their political activity around Social Security, she shows how highly participatory groups get their policy preferences fulfilled, and how public policy itself helps create political inequality. Using a wealth of unique survey and historical data, Campbell shows how the development of Social Security helped transform seniors from the most beleaguered to the most politically active age group. Thus empowered, seniors actively defend their programs from proposed threats, shaping policy outcomes. The participatory effects are strongest for low-income seniors, who are most dependent on Social Security. The program thus reduces political inequality within the senior population--a laudable effect--while increasing inequality between seniors and younger citizens. A brief look across policies shows that program effects are not always positive. Welfare recipients are even less participatory than their modest socioeconomic backgrounds would imply, because of the demeaning and disenfranchising process of proving eligibility. Campbell concludes that program design profoundly shapes the nature of democratic citizenship. And proposed policies--such as Social Security privatization--must be evaluated for both their economic and political effects, because the very quality of democratic government is influenced by the kinds of policies it chooses.

Andrea Louise Campbell is professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of How Policies Make Citizens and coauthor of The Delegated Welfare State.

List of Figures
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship
Overview: Rising Senior Participation and the Growth of the American Welfare State
A Model of Senior Citizen Political Participation
Senior Citizen Participation and Policy over ime
Policy Threat and Seniors' Distinctive Political Voice
Congressional Responsiveness
The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship across Programs
Participation, Policymaking, and the Political Implications of Program Design
Supplementary Tables
Two-Stage Social Security Participation Model
Senior/Nonsenior Mobilization Ratios by Party, 1956-96
Multiple Interrupted Time-Series Analysis
Notes
References
Index

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