This book offers a comprehensive and comparative analysis of social welfare policy in an international context, with a particular emphasis on the US and Canada. The authors investigate the claim that a decentralized delivery of government supported goods and services enables policy objectives to be achieved in a more innovative, efficient and cheaper way. They also examine the effectiveness of the voucher system as a solution to problematic welfare concerns. The voucher system which includes all forms of government subsidy, whether in the form of tax deductions, credits or means-tested consumer entitlements, places the resources directly into the hands of citizens and allows them, rather than a government agent, to determine which goods they will consume from competing private suppliers. While this system has shown much promise in improving welfare, there have been problems for institutions unable to attract enough voucher-assisted consumers to ensure their survival. In this context the authorsexamine major social programs such as food stamps, low-income housing, legal aid, health care, early childhood education, primary and secondary education, post-secondary education and job training and other active labor market policies. This book will be of interest to students of comparative politics, social policy and economics.