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ECON 11N: Understanding the Welfare System

Welfare-reform legislation passed by the federal government in the mid-1990s heralded a dramatic step in the movement that has been termed the devolution revolution, which is again being discussed in the context of healthcare reform. The centerpiece of devolution is the transfer of more responsibilities for antipoverty programs to the states. We will explore the effects of these reforms and the role that devolution plays in the ongoing debates over the designs of programs that make up America's social safety net. In addition to discussing conventional welfare programs (e.g., Medicaid, food stamps, TANF, SSI) and other governmental policies assisting low-income families (EITC, minimum wages), we will examine the trends in governmental spending on anti-poverty programs and how our nation defines poverty and eligibility for income support. We will apply economics principles throughout to understand the effectiveness of America's antipoverty programs and their consequences on the behavior and circumstances of families. Prerequisites: A basic understanding/knowledge of introductory economics is recommended.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: MaCurdy, T. (PI)
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