Shared Responsibility, Shared Risk: Government, Markets and Social Policy in the Twenty-First Century

Overview

The collapse of the financial markets in 2008 and the resulting 'Great Recession' merely accelerated an already worrisome trend: the shift away from an employer-based social welfare system in the United States. Since the end of World War II, a substantial percentage of the costs of social provision—most notably, unemployment insurance and health insurance—has been borne by employers rather than the state. The US has long been unique among advanced economies in this regard, but in recent years, its social contract...

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Shared Responsibility, Shared Risk: Government, Markets and Social Policy in the Twenty-First Century

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Overview

The collapse of the financial markets in 2008 and the resulting 'Great Recession' merely accelerated an already worrisome trend: the shift away from an employer-based social welfare system in the United States. Since the end of World War II, a substantial percentage of the costs of social provision—most notably, unemployment insurance and health insurance—has been borne by employers rather than the state. The US has long been unique among advanced economies in this regard, but in recent years, its social contract has become so frayed that is fast becoming unrecognizable. Despite Obama's election, the burdens of social provision are falling increasingly upon individual families, and the situation is worsening because of the unemployment crisis. How can we repair the American social welfare system so that workers and families receive adequate protection and, if necessary, provision from the ravages of the market?

In Shared Responsibility, Shared Risk, Jacob Hacker and Ann O'Leary have gathered a distinguished group of scholars on American social policy to address this most fundamental of problems. Collectively, they analyze how the 'privatization of risk' has increased hardships for American families and increased inequality. They also propose a series of solutions that would distribute the burdens of risks more broadly and expand the social safety net. The range of issues covered is broad: health care, homeownership, social security and aging, unemployment, wealth (as opposed to income) creation, education, and family-friendly policies. The book is also comparative, measuring US social policy against the policies of other advanced nations. Given the current crisis in America social policy and the concomitant paralysis within government, the book has the potential to make an important intervention in the current debate.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199781928
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob S. Hacker is Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

Ann O'Leary is Executive Director of Berkeley Center on Health, Economic, and Family Security at University of California-Berkeley Law School.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Shared Responsibility, Craig Calhoun
About the Contributors

Part I: Inspirations and Challenges for Shared Responsibility, Shared Risk
Chapter 1: The New Economic Insecurity and What Can Be Done About It , Jacob S. Hacker
Chapter 2: History of the Government as Risk Manager, David Moss
Chapter 3: The American Challenge in Cross-National Perspective, Neil Gilbert
Chapter 4: The Arms of Democracy: The Legacy of Economic Security Policy, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Connor Raso

Part II: Improving Economic Security for Workers
Chapter 5: The Role of Government in Ensuring Job Security, Heather Boushey
Chapter 6: Income Security When Temporarily Away from Work, Stephen D. Sugarman

Part III: Improving Economic Security for Families
Chapter 7: Public Policy to Build Wealth for America's Middle Class, Christian Weller and Amy Helburn
Chapter 8: Risk Allocation in Homeownership, Katherine Porter and Tara Twomey
Chapter 9: Risk Sharing When Work & Family Clash: The Need for Government and Employer Innovation, Ann O'Leary

Part IV: Increasing Health and Retirement Security
Chapter 10: Securing Health, Jacob S. Hacker
Chapter 11: Redesigning Our Retirement System in the Wake of the Financial Collapse, Alicia Munnell
Chapter 12: Government's Role in Aging and Long-Term Care, Andrew Scharlach and Amanda Lehning

Part V: Conclusions
Chapter 13: A Philosophy of Governance for a Risky Economy, Martha Minow
Conclusion: America's Next Social Compact: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future, Jacob S. Hacker and Ann O'Leary

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