Sets out a complete dossier of information in order to understand the origins, evolution and current challenges of the welfare state and social policy in North American societies compared with other western countries.
"The best brief account of US welfare available. Highly recommended."
"It has been quipped that on of the last bastions of British Empire has been the introductory social policy textbook and that might have been so: until now. Daniel Béland has finally breached that bastion."
Journal of Social Policy
"In this important and well-researched book, Daniel Béland examines the American welfare state in both a comparative and a historical context. What is Social Policy? Understanding the Welfare State explains in clear language how social programs protect individuals and families against fluctuations in the economy and changing risks that occur across the life course. From health care to unemployment insurance to old-age pensions, Béland makes a compelling case for why the welfare state is significant in shaping lives and reducing inequality."
Jill Quadagno, Florida State University and author of One Nation, Uninsured
"Ambitious in scope yet admirably concise ... Daniel Béland has written a very good introduction to U.S. social policy, one that is particularly well-suited to undergraduates and general readers."
Christopher Howard, College of William and Mary, Virginia