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Legislative Outcomes in Human Services

Elizabeth Howe
Social Service Review
Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1978), pp. 173-188
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30015606
Page Count: 16
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Legislative Outcomes in Human Services
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Abstract

Outcomes or benefits resulting from any legislative process are not evenly distributed to all social groups. In particular, the poor are at a significant disadvantage in policymaking because they are devalued both by society at large and by legislators who reflect general social values. This article examines the fate of state legislative proposals made in behalf of the poor by New York City's Human Resources Administration. Labeling theory suggests characteristics which can be used to classify the poor into a hierarchy of more and less valued groups. Bachrach and Baratz's idea of the mobilization of bias provides insight into the mechanisms by which demands from the poor as a whole, and the most disadvantaged among the poor in particular, are systematically suppressed in the legislative process.

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