Skip to main content
×
Home

Welfare Politics in Congress

  • Lawrence M. Mead (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

The stakes of political conflict involve contending values and issue definitions as well as policy. Welfare reform was the most important change in American domestic policy since civil rights. Its significance hinges crucially on how participants understood the issue, but existing research fails to resolve what their perceptions were. Most accounts suggest that welfare reform was an ideological contest concerning the proper scope of government, but there are other views. This study gauges the welfare agenda rigorously by coding speakers in congressional hearings on the basis of how they framed the issue and the position they took on it during the six chief episodes of welfare reform that occurred between 1962 and 1996. The reform efforts aroused four distinct divisions. Over time, positions moved rightward, but more important, the dominant issue changed: The ideological debate about government was overtaken by a more practical debate about how to manage welfare. This is the first study to track the substantive meaning of any issue in Congress over an extended period of time using hearing witnesses and a preset analytic scheme.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Anderson Martin. 1978. Welfare: The Political Economy of Welfare Reform in the United States. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.
Baumgartner Frank R., and Jones Bryan D.. 1993. Agendas and Instability in American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bero Lisa A., Montini Theresa, Bryan-Jones Katherine, and Mangurian Christina. 2001. “Science in Regulatory Policy Making: Case Studies in the Development of Workplace Smoking Restrictions.” Tobacco Control 10: 329–36.
Besharov Douglas J., Samari with Nazarin. 2001. “Child Care after Welfare Reform.” In The New World of Welfare: An Agenda for Reauthorization and Beyond, ed. Blank Rebecca M. and Haskins Ron, 461–81. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Blank Rebecca M., and Haskins Ron. 2001. The New World of Welfare: An Agenda for Reauthorization and Beyond. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Bobo Lawrence, and Smith Ryan A.. 1994. “Antipoverty Policy, Affirmative Action, and Racial Attitudes.” In Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change, ed. Danziger Sheldon H., Sandefur Gary D., and Weinberg Daniel H., 365–95. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bowler Kenneth M. 1974. The Nixon Guaranteed Income Proposal: Substance and Process in Policy Change. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
Bryner Gary. 1998. Politics and Public Morality: The Great American Welfare Reform Debate. New York: Norton.
Burke Vincent J., and Burke Vee. 1974. Nixon's Good Deed: Welfare Reform. New York: Columbia University Press.
Burstein Paul, and Bricher Marie. 1997. “Problem Definition and Public Policy: Congressional Committees Confront Work, Family, and Gender, 1945–1990.” Social Forces 76: 135–68.
Burstein Paul, Bricher R. Marie, and Einwohner Rachel L.. 1995. “Policy Alternatives and Political Change: Work, Family, and Gender on the Congressional Agenda, 1945–1990.” American Sociological Review 60: 6783.
Burstein Paul, and Hirsh C. Elizabeth. 2007. “Interest Organization, Information, and Policy Innovation in the U.S. Congress.” Sociological Forum 22: 4469.
Carmines Edward G., and Stimson James A.. 1989. Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Cohen Jacob. 1960. “A Coefficient of Agreement for Nominal Scales.” Educational and Psychological Measurement 20: 3746.
Danziger Sheldon H., and Weinberg Daniel H., eds. 1986. Fighting Poverty: What Works and What Doesn't. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Davies Gareth. 1996. From Opportunity to Entitlement: The Transformation and Decline of Great Society Liberalism. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Del Sesto Steven L. 1980a. “Conflicting Ideologies of Nuclear Power: Congressional Testimony on Nuclear Reactor Safety.” Public Policy 28: 3970.
Del Sesto Steven L. 1980b. “Nuclear Reactor Safety and the Role of the Congressman: A Content Analysis of Congressional Hearings.” Journal of Politics 42: 227–41.
DeParle Jason. 2004. American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and the Nation's Drive to End Welfare. New York: Viking.
Downs Anthony. 1972. “Up and Down with Ecology: The ‘Issue-Attention Cycle.’Public Interest 28: 3850.
Duncan Greg J., and Chase-Lansdale P. Lindsay. 2001a. “Welfare Reform and Children's Well-Being. In The New World of Welfare, ed. Blank Rebecca M. and Haskins Ron, 391417. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Duncan Greg J., and Chase-Lansdale P. Lindsay. 2001b. For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families. New York: Russell Sage.
Fukuyama Francis. 1992. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free Press.
Gans Herbert J. 1995. The War against the Poor: The Underclass and Antipoverty Policy. New York: Basic Books.
Gilder George. 1981. Wealth and Poverty. New York: Basic Books.
Gilens Martin. 1999. Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Goehlert Robert U., and Sayre John R.. 1982. The United States Congress: A Bibliography. New York: Free Press.
Grogger Jeffrey, and Karoly Lynn A.. 2005. Welfare Reform: Effects of a Decade of Change. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Haskins Ron. 2001. “Liberal and Conservative Influences on the Welfare Reform Legislation of 1996.” In For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families, ed. Duncan Greg J. and Chase-Lansdale P. Lindsay, 934. New York: Russell Sage.
Haskins Ron. 2006. Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Heclo Hugh. 1974. Modern Social Politics in Britain and Sweden: From Relief to Income Maintenance. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Holsti Ole R. 1969. Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Hopkins Daniel, and King Gary. 2008. “Extracting Systematic Social Science Meaning from Text.” Working paper, Yale University, Center for the Study of American Politics.
Hunter Marjorie. 1972. “Curb Is Planned in Welfare Bill.” New York Times, January 21.
Iyengar Shanto. 1989. “How Citizens Think about Issues: A Matter of Responsibility.” American Journal of Political Science 33: 878900.
Iyengar Shanto. 1990. “Framing Responsibility for Political Issues: The Case of Poverty.” Political Behavior 12: 1940.
Katz Michael B. 1986. In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America. New York: Basic Books.
Katz Michael B. 1989. The Undeserving Poor: From the War on Poverty to the War on Welfare. New York: Pantheon.
Kingdon John W. 1995. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. 2nd ed.New York: HarperCollins.
Leman Christopher, 1980. The Collapse of Welfare Reform: Political Institutions, Policy, and the Poor in Canada and the United States. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Lenkowsky Leslie. 1986. Politics, Economics, and Welfare Reform: The Failure of the Negative Income Tax in Britain and the United States. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Lødemel Ivar, and Trickey Heather. 2001. “An Offer You Can't Refuse”: Workfare in International Perspective. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
Lynn Laurence E. Jr., and Whitman David Deft. 1981. The President as Policymaker: Jimmy Carter and Welfare Reform. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
MacLeod Michael C. 2002. “The Logic of Positive Feedback: Telecommunications Policy through the Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction of a Regulated Monopoly.” In Policy Dynamics, ed. Baumgartner Frank R. and Jones Bryan D., 5172. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Marmor Theodore R., Mashaw Jerry L., and Harvey Philip L.. 1990. America's Misunderstood Welfare State: Persistent Myths, Enduring Realities. New York: Basic Books.
Mead Lawrence M. 1986. Beyond Entitlement: The Social Obligations of Citizenship. New York: Free Press.
Mead Lawrence M. 1992. The New Politics of Poverty: The Nonworking Poor in America. New York: Basic Books.
Mink Gwendolyn. 1998. Welfare's End. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Moynihan Daniel Patrick. 1965. “The Professionalization of Reform.” Public Interest 1: 616.
Moynihan Daniel Patrick. 1973. The Politics of a Guaranteed Income: The Nixon Administration and the Family Assistance Plan. New York: Random House.
Murray Charles. 1984. Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–1980. New York: Basic Books.
Noble Charles. 1997. Welfare as We Knew It: A Political History of the American Welfare State. New York: Oxford University Press.
Piven Frances Fox, and Cloward Richard A.. 1993. Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare. Rev. ed.New York: Vintage.
Reinhard Michael. 2003. “The Force of Ideas, Problem Definition, Disjoint Policy Change and the Politics of Welfare.” Working paper, University of Chicago.
Riker William H. 1986. The Art of Political Manipulation. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Ross Fiona. 2000. “Framing Welfare Reform in Affluent Societies: Rendering Restructuring More Palatable?Journal of Public Policy 20: 169–93.
Schattschneider E. E. 1960. The Semisovereign People: A Realist's View of Democracy in America. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Schneider Anne, and Ingram Helen. 1993. “Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy.” American Political Science Review 87: 334–47.
Skocpol Theda. 2000. The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy. New York: W. W. Norton and Co.
Steensland Brian. 2008. The Failed Welfare Revolution: America's Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Stein Sandra J. 2004. The Culture of Education Policy. New York: Teachers College Press.
Teles Steven M. 1996. Whose Welfare? AFDC and Elite Politics. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Ways and Means. 2004. 2004 Green Book: Background Material, and Data on the Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Weaver R. Kent. 2000. Ending Welfare as We Know It. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Winston Pamela. 2002. Welfare Policymaking in the States: The Devil in Devolution. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 42 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 188 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

A correction has been issued for this article: