Social Welfare, Welfare State, Public Policy


This article builds upon the “logics of redistribution” approach to welfare state theory, which argues that different theoretical explanations, referred to as “logics”, apply to different programs based on context and constituencies. I argue that individual programs’ can have their logics change over time as well via institutional restructuring in policymaking. To demonstrate this, I use Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), later renamed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as a case. This program underwent institutional restructuring in 1996 by way of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). I use yearly state-level data from 1984 to 2015 to assess how three sets of theories (racial, political, and economic) influence benefit levels before and after PRWORA. Data is drawn from Michigan State University’s Correlates of State Policy, the University of Kentucky’s National Welfare Data, and Hirsch and MacPherson’s Union Membership and Coverage datasets. Two-way fixed effects models find that how political and economic ‘logics’ apply to benefit levels change after institutional restructuring in 1996. Racial “logics” remain fairly consistent in both time periods.

Off-campus users:

You may need to log in to your campus proxy before being granted access to the full-text above.