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Social Welfare II: Public Assistance Wilson, Chapter 5 (cont’d) Articles Anne Schneider and Helen Ingram, “Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy,” American Political Science Review , June, 1993.

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Social Welfare II: Public Assistance

Wilson, Chapter 5 (cont’d)

Articles

Anne Schneider and Helen Ingram, “Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy,” American Political Science Review, June, 1993.

“Race Coding” and White Opposition to Welfare,” Martin Gilens. The American Political Science Review Vol. 90, No. 3 (Sep., 1996), pp. 593-604.

“Assessing the New Federalism: Eight Years Later,” Section 1 (Introduction and Section 1) (Debate Background Material)

Debate: Has welfare reform (PWORA 1996) helped the poor? (Feb. 7)


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Social Welfare Programs in the United States

  • Social Insurance

    • universal in coverage; eligibility based on contribution

  • Public Assistance

    • categorical; eligibility based on need (“means-tested”)


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Social Welfare Programs in the United States

  • Social Security Act of 1935

    • Social Insurance

      • Old Age Insurance (OAI) (“Social Security”)

      • Unemployment Insurance(UI)

    • Public Assistance

      • Aid to Families with Dependent Children (ADC)

      • Old Age Assistance (OAA)

      • Aid to the Blind (AB)


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The War on Poverty, and the Expansion of Public Assistance (1965-80)

  • Sources of the War on Poverty (Katz):

    • rediscovery of poverty (amidst affluence of the 60’s)

    • growing urban “pathologies” (OWB’s, delinquency)

    • social movements


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The War on Poverty, and the Expansion of Public Assistance (1965-80)

  • Social movement pressure came from:

    • radicalization of the civil rights movement

    • radical student organizations

    • the welfare rights movement (NWRO)


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The War on Poverty, and the Expansion of Public Assistance (1965-80)

  • Social movement pressure came from:

    • radicalization of the civil rights movement

    • radical student organizations

    • the welfare rights movement (NWRO)


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Public Assistance Programs (1965-80)

  • Cash benefits

    • TANF

    • SSI

  • In-Kind benefits

    • Medicaid

    • Food Stamps

    • Misc. other (housing, nutrition, etc.)


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Food Stamps (1965-80)

  • 1964 Food Stamp Act

  • 1973 – all communities req’d to adopt

  • federal gov’t pays all benefits and shares administrative costs

  • about 26.5 million recipients (2007)

  • avg. monthly benefit is about $96 per person (2007) (overview of FSP)




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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (1965-80)

  • Purpose: To provide cash assistance to the aged, blind and disabled who are poor

  • Historical Origins:

    • Social Security Act of 1935 (OAA & AB)

    • ATPD (1950)

  • Nixon consolidated and “federalized” OAA, AB and ATPD in 1974


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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (1965-80)

  • Administration and Financing:

    • Administered by SSA

    • Financed by federal government (general revenue)

    • States have an option to supplement


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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (1965-80)

  • Eligibility:

  • All recipients must pass income test/assets test

  • Aged: 65 years old

  • Blind: “no better than 20/200 vision, or tunnel vision of 20 degrees or less in the better eye with a corrective lens”

  • Disabled: “Adults are considered disabled if they cannot work because of a ‘medically determined physical or mental impairment expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.’”




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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (1965-80)

  • Historical Development

    • Social Security Act 1935 (ADC)

    • Numerous attempts to reform AFDC (including FSA of 1988)

    • PRWORA - TANF(1996) – “welfare reform”


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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (1965-80)

  • Population potentially eligible:

    • Originally poor children (1935-50)

    • Children + single parent (1950-67) (AFDC)

    • Children + parent(s) (1967-88)

    • Children + parents (1988-2007)


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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (1965-80)

  • Calculation of Payments:

    • income test, assets

    • Payment = Max. benefit level - net family income

    • Allowed deductions from income (e.g. work expenses, child care, and some earnings)

  • No minimum benefit level

  • No COLA’s


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Significant Features of TANF (Compared to AFDC) (1965-80)

  • Block grants (based on 1994-1995 spending)

    • 75% MOE

  • Time limits

    • lifetime limit 60 months

  • Work req’s

    • Must be enforced after 2 years

    • can’t enforce if no child care provided

    • Some recipients may be exempted

  • Work participation rates (all families)

    • 2002+ = 50%

  • Unwed mothers <18 must live with guardian

  • Allows “Family Cap”

  • Benefits denied based on felony drug conviction (possession, use, distribution)


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Welfare Reform: Good or Bad for the Poor? (1965-80)

  • “Positive” consequences of welfare reform

    • Caseloads declined (?)

    • Work participation rates increased

    • Poverty declined (?)


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The U.S. Poverty Threshold (1965-80)

  • figure used by the Census Bureau to determine (count) who is poor

  • conceptually defined as the annual budget for a family/individual that is needed to maintain a “minimally adequate standard of living”


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The U.S. Poverty Threshold (1965-80)

  • 1965: Mollie Orshansky (SSA)

  • Methodology: Based on cost($) of “economy food plan” (1955 Household Food Consumption Survey by USDA)

  • Poverty threshold = Food cost * 3

  • Updated each year using the CPI

  • Poverty statistics are calculated based on pre-tax, post-transfer cash income.




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Aggregation in Studies of Welfare Leavers: What happens to sanctioned recipients?

  • Sanctioned families more likely to report:

    • Less earnings

    • Other forms of hardship

      • Utility shutoff

      • Inability to pay rent

      • Etc.


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Welfare Reform and Devolution sanctioned recipients?

  • What is devolution?

  • What are the consequences for welfare provision and the poor?


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Welfare Reform and Devolution sanctioned recipients?

Federal Government

State Governments


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Welfare Reform and Devolution sanctioned recipients?

Federal Government

State Governments

Local Governments/Actors


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What is the “Race to the Bottom” sanctioned recipients? ?

  • “Welfare Magnet” Hypothesis:

    • Predicts that poor persons will migrate from states with low welfare benefits to those with more generous welfare policies


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What is the “Race to the Bottom” sanctioned recipients? ?

  • Benefit Competition Hypothesis:

    • Predicts that states regularly compete with surrounding states to offer the least generous welfare assistance to try to discourage poor people from moving to their state (and thus avoid becoming “welfare magnets)


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What is the “Race to the Bottom” ? sanctioned recipients?

  • Benefit Competition Hypothesis:

    • Potentially explains differences between U.S. welfare state compared to other Western democracies

    • Leads to less than “desirable” benefit levels

    • Used to justify call for uniform benefit levels set be federal government

    • What about decline in welfare generosity over time within U.S.?


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What is the “Race to the Bottom” ? sanctioned recipients?

  • Residency requirements

    • The race to the bottom began in earnest after the 1969 Supreme Court decision which declared residency requirements unconstitutional


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Shapiro vs. Thompson sanctioned recipients?


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AFDC/TANF Benefits Have Declined Relative to other Cash Assistance Payments

Soc. Sec. (individual)

SSI (individual)

AFDC/TANF


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The Racial Politics of Assistance PaymentsWelfare Retrenchment

  • Schneider and Ingram – Policy outputs a function of two important characteristics of the target population:

  • The social construction of the target population (Deserving vs. Undeserving)

  • The political power of the target population (weak vs. strong)


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The Racial Politics of Assistance PaymentsWelfare Retrenchment


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The Racial Politics of Assistance PaymentsWelfare Retrenchment

  • Social Constructions

    • Not all groups have a clear s.c.

    • Much of the politics of agenda setting concerns efforts to define and re-define prevailing social constructions of target populations

      • Often through re-defining the target population (example: Aids)


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Race and Support for Welfare: Assistance PaymentsThe Individual Level

  • Evidence suggests that two racial attitudes among whites interact to affect attitudes about welfare:

    • Race of the target

    • Stereotypes about black work ethic


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Race and Support for Welfare: Assistance PaymentsThe Individual Level

  • Evidence suggests that perceptions of the target population for welfare programs have changed over the last few decades

  • Negative stereotypes of black/minority work ethic remain widespread



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Survey Experiments and Race of the Target Assistance Payments

  • Avery and Peffley (2003)


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Survey Experiments and Race of the Target Assistance Payments

  • Avery and Peffley (2003)

  • The results consistently showed that respondents who viewed the black image were more likely to:

  • Blame the woman for her condition

  • Think that she is less likely to look for a new job.

  • Believe that most people could get by without welfare.


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Gilens (APSR 1996) Assistance Payments


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Racial Politics and Welfare Policy Assistance Payments

  • Does this translate into public policy outcomes?

  • Does the percentage of welfare recipients that are black in a state lead to decreased welfare generosity in that state?


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Racial Politics and Welfare Policy Assistance Payments

  • Studies Finding a Relationship Between Racial Composition of Welfare Rolls and Welfare Benefits

    • Orr (1976)

    • Wright (1977)

    • Plotnick and Winters (1985)

    • Brown (1995)

    • Moffit, Ribar and Wilhelm (1998)

    • Howard (1999)

    • Bailey and Rom (2003)


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Racial Politics and Welfare Policy Assistance Payments

  • Magnitude of Racial Effect (From 1995)

    • State A (Average State)

      • African-American % = 33%

      • Maximum (monthly) AFDC Benefit = $600

    • State B (High African American%)

      • African-American % = 83%

      • Maximum (monthly) AFDC Benefit = $400

    • State C (Low African American%)

      • African-American % = 1%

      • Maximum (monthly) AFDC Benefit = $728



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Social Welfare Programs and the Poverty Gap Family, 2001

Source: Ziliak (2003)


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AFDC/TANF Benefits Have Declined Relative to other Cash Assistance Payments

Soc. Sec. (individual)

SSI (individual)

AFDC/TANF


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