Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. J. Kevin Corder

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Hoffmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Gunther Hega

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang


Policy, labor economics, recession, The Great Recession, social welfare programs


In comparative political economy, nations whose governing institutions direct economic behavior towards the market are classified as liberal market economies, whereas those nations that direct economic behavior toward coordinated efforts between stakeholders, often amongst business, labor and the government, are categorized as coordinated market economies (Amberg 2008; Hall and Soskice 2001). In spite of the United States’ classification as a liberal market economy, during the recent global recession from 2007 to 2009, and in other critical times of economic decline such as the 1990–91 and 2001 recessions, the national government and state governments have mobilized their resources in order to develop policy solutions to combat the effects of joblessness.

This dissertation research examines the intervention of the U.S. and state governments into the labor market during economic recessions through the expansion of OASDI Social Security, unemployment insurance, and training programs. The study of these programs spans a 20-year period from 1990–2010 and is grounded in the U.S. state politics and policy and political economy literatures with a particular interest in how U.S. policy choices converge or diverge from the liberal market economy classification categorized in the Varieties of Capitalism typology. Using quantitative analysis, I explored the variation in policy outputs through a cross-sectional study of 49 U.S. states over a 20-year period from 1990 to 2010. The coordination of national and subnational governments with nonprofits, educational institutions, and the business sector was also examined through case studies of state-level responses to the 2007–2009 economic recession. I found that all levels of government have engaged in coordinated efforts with market and other non-market actors as required during economic recessions, in order to expand labor market opportunities and move the United States forward in a direction of economic recovery.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access