Welfare in America : how social science fails the poor

Epstein, William M., 1944-

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator William M. Epstein
  • Format Books
  • Publication Madison, Wis : University of Wisconsin Press, [1997] ©1997
  • Physical Details
    • ix, 267 pages ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9780299155902, 0299155900, 9780299155940, 0299155943
  • OCLC ocm36900711


  • "Welfare in America is a scathing attack on the social scientists, policy makers, and politicians responsible for programs meant to help our nation's poorest citizens. William M. Epstein charges that most current social welfare programs are not held to credible standards in their design or their results. Rather than spending less on such research and programs, however, Epstein suggests we should spend much more, and do the job right." "The American public and policymakers must be able to rely on social science research for objective, credible information when trying to solve problems of employment, affordable housing, effective health care, and family integrity. But, Epstein contends, politicians treat welfare issues as ideological battlegrounds; they demand immediate results from questionable data and implement policies long before social researchers can complete their analyses. Social scientists often play into the political agenda, supporting poorly conceived programs and doing little to test and revise them. Analyzing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the recent welfare reform act, Food Stamps, Medicaid, job training, social services, and other programs, Epstein systematically challenges the conservative's vain hope that neglect is therapeutic for the poor, as well as the liberal's conceit that a little bit of assistance is sufficient."--BOOK JACKET.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 237-257) and index.


  • Introduction: Absence of Rational Authority -- 1. The Rhetoric of Welfare -- 2. The Assumptions of Welfare Reform -- 3. Welfare and Work -- 4. Welfare, Family Structure, and Intergenerational Dependency -- 5. Reforming Welfare with Work: Training Programs for Welfare Recipients -- 6. Personal Social Services and Welfare -- 7. Conclusion: Generosity
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