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Journal of Economic Literature - Book Review

JEL Volume. 49, Issue 3 | leftPrevious Review Next Review right

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Book(s) Reviewed

Wealth and Welfare States: Is America a Laggard or Leader? by Irwin Garfinkel, Lee Rainwater and Timothy Smeeding

Published By: Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-957930-3, cloth; 978-0-19-957931-0, pbk.
Date of Publication: 2010


Book Review Detail

Reviewed by: Ann Huff Stevens of University of California, Davis
Review DOI: 10.1257/jel.49.3.719.r23
Review Pages: 774-76

Book Review Abstract

Ann Huff Stevens of University of California, Davis reviews "Wealth and Welfare States: Is America a Laggard or Leader?" by Irwin Garfinkel, Lee Rainwater and Timothy Smeeding. The EconLit Abstract of the reviewed work begins "Explores the role of the welfare state in the overall wealth and well-being of nations, focusing on the American welfare state in comparison with other developed nations in Europe and elsewhere. Discusses why all rich nations have large welfare states; the size, nature, and universality of welfare state transfers; how welfare state programs redistribute income, reduce poverty and inequality, build and sustain human capital, and promote opportunity; a short American-centric history of welfare state programs and outcomes; explaining American exceptionalism--laggard in public relief and social insurance--leader in education; explaining U.S. divergence in the last quarter of the twentieth century--the long swing right; and the future of the American welfare state. Garfinkel is Mitchell I. Ginsberg Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems and the codirector of the Columbia Population Research Center at Columbia University. Rainwater is Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Harvard University and Founder and Research Director Emeritus of the Luxembourg Income Study. Smeeding is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty. Index."


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Book Review Authors

Ann Huff Stevens of University of California, Davis


JEL Classifications

H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
I30: Welfare and Poverty: General
P16: Capitalist Systems: Political Economy


Journal of Economic Literature


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