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Political Change, Citizenship Rights, and the Welfare State

Mayer N. Zald
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 479, The Welfare State in America: Trends and Prospects (May, 1985), pp. 48-66
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1046096
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Change, Citizenship Rights, and the Welfare State
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Abstract

Changes in political structure, coalitions, and ideology provide the context in which specific policies and programs are adopted and, once adopted, expanded or trimmed. This article assays a portrait of American politics in the early 1980s and the major trends relevant to welfare choice. It is shown that voters have loosened their ties to parties even while the parties have strengthened their organizational capacities. Although there is little evidence that American voters wish to dismantle the welfare state, the growing strength of the Republican party as a campaign vehicle and the greater party competition among parties in all regions suggest that Republican congressional and senatorial strength will be stronger than in the fifties and sixties. Moreover, trends to expand citizen rights that bear on welfare issues may have been arrested. Issue heterogeneity, the dissolution of older political coalitions, and economic trends suggest that broad welfare state issues will be on the back burner, though there is no evidence that broad-based programs face significant cutbacks.

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