Activism, families, policy feedback theory, hidden/visible policies, voluntarism


This study tested for differences on the type and extent of civic engagement between use of visible programs such as Food Stamps and Medicaid and less visible programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit while accounting for family and socio demographic characteristics. Policy feedback theory guided the study which used data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Surveys. Challenging prior research, means-tested Food Stamps, Medicaid, or EITC program participants were as likely as non-participants to devote time to activities aimed at changing social conditions. What social service agencies can do to enhance civic engagement is discussed.

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