How Policies Make Citizens: Senior Political Activism and the American Welfare State [NOOK Book]

Overview

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...

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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Perspectives on Politics
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 - Gary Mucciaroni
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.
From the Publisher
"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
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Andrea Louise Campbell is Assistant Professor of Government at Harvard University. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy at Yale University from 2001-2003.
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Table of Contents

LIST OF FIGURES ix
LIST OF TABLES xi
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xv
CHAPTER ONE
Introduction: The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship 1
CHAPTER TWO
Overview: Rising Senior Participation and the Growth of the American Welfare State 14
CHAPTER THREE
A Model of Senior Citizen Political Participation 38
CHAPTER FOUR
Senior Citizen Participation and Policy over ime 65
CHAPTER FIVE
Policy Threat and Seniors' Distinctive Political Voice 93
CHAPTER SIX
Congressional Responsiveness 115
CHAPTER SEVEN
The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship across Programs 125
CHAPTER EIGHT
Participation, Policymaking, and the Political Implications of Program Design 138
APPENDIX A
Supplementary Tables 147
APPENDIX B
Two-Stage Social Security Participation Model 161
APPENDIX C
Senior/Nonsenior Mobilization Ratios by Party, 1956-96 165
APPENDIX D
Multiple Interrupted Time-Series Analysis 166
NOTES 169
REFERENCES 205
INDEX 221
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