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Home > Catalog > Dismantling the Welfare State?
Dismantling the Welfare State?


  • 1 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 223 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.277 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 361.6/1/0973
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: HN59.2 .P52 1994
  • LC Subject headings:
    • United States--Social policy--1980-1993
    • Great Britain--Social policy--1979-
    • Welfare state

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521403825 | ISBN-10: 0521403820)

Replaced by 9780521555708


This book offers a careful examination of the politics of social policy in an era of austerity and conservative governance. Focusing on the administrations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Paul Pierson provides a compelling explanation for the welfare state's durability and for the few occasions where each government was able to achieve significant cutbacks. The book will appeal to those interested in the politics of neo-conservatism as well as those concerned about the development of the modern welfare state. It will attract readers in the fields of comparative politics, public policy, and political economy.


Introduction: Conservatives and the Welfare State; Part I. Analytical Foundations: 1. The logic of retrenchment; 2. The context for retrenchment politics; Part II. The Politics of Programmatic Retrenchment: 3. Retrenchment in a core sector: old age pensions; 4. Retrenchment in a vulnerable sector: housing; 5. Retrenchment in a residualized sector: income support; Part III. The Embattled Welfare State: 6. Reagan, Thatcher and the welfare state; 7. Social policy in an era of austerity.

Prize Winner

the American Political Science Association's 1995 Gladys M. Kammerer Award


"Pierson's case studies are especially interesting, for they challenge a widely held view that universal programs are more durable than targeted, means-tested programs....Pierson's empirically rich analysis...constitutes a valuable contribution to an understanding of the politics of the contemporary welfare state." American Journal of Sociology

"...[an] insightful, balanced, incredibly lucid, well-organized account of the durability of welfare state programs....Highly recommended for all research collections." Social & Behavioral Sciences

"...path-breaking study." The Economist

"Pierson provides informative, finely grained analyses of the politics of programmed retrenchment in old-age pensions, housing policies, and income support programs....Pierson's theoretical framework provides much insight and understanding of the social welfare policy records of Reagan and Thatcher....this important book can be highly recommended to students and scholars. It is particularly appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses stressing national institutions, public policy, or political economy. It is essential reading for welfare state researchers and other scholars interested in the politics of social policy in the contemporary era." Duane Swank, American Political Science Review

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