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How Policies Make Citizens : Senior Political Activism and the American Welfare State - Andrea Louise Campbell

How Policies Make Citizens

Senior Political Activism and the American Welfare State

Paperback Published: 13th February 2005
ISBN: 9780691122502
Number Of Pages: 256

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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.

Industry Reviews

"This is a persuasively argued, well-researched, and nicely written work that makes a key contribution to our understanding of the politics of Social Security retirement insurance. Because of the singular importance of Social Security as a domestic federal program, ... Campbell's study fills a significant gap."--Gary Mucciaroni, Perspectives on Politics

List of Figuresp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introduction: The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationshipp. 1
Overview: Rising Senior Participation and the Growth of the American Welfare Statep. 14
A Model of Senior Citizen Political Participationp. 38
Senior Citizen Participation and Policy over imep. 65
Policy Threat and Seniors' Distinctive Political Voicep. 93
Congressional Responsivenessp. 115
The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship across Programsp. 125
Participation, Policymaking, and the Political Implications of Program Designp. 138
Supplementary Tablesp. 147
Two-Stage Social Security Participation Modelp. 161
Senior/Nonsenior Mobilization Ratios by Party, 1956-96p. 165
Multiple Interrupted Time-Series Analysisp. 166
Notesp. 169
Referencesp. 205
Indexp. 221
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691122502
ISBN-10: 0691122504
Series: Princeton studies in American Poitics
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 13th February 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.35