How Policies Make Citizens

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-01-24
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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Some groups participate in politics more than others. Why? And does it matter for policy outcomes? In this richly detailed and fluidly written book, Andrea Campbell argues that democratic participation and public policy powerfully reinforce each other. Through a case study of senior citizens in the United States and their political activity around Social Security, she shows how highly participatory groups get their policy preferences fulfilled, and how public policy itself helps create political inequality. Using a wealth of unique survey and historical data, Campbell shows how the development of Social Security helped transform seniors from the most beleaguered to the most politically active age group. Thus empowered, seniors actively defend their programs from proposed threats, shaping policy outcomes. The participatory effects are strongest for low-income seniors, who are most dependent on Social Security. The program thus reduces political inequality within the senior population--a laudable effect--while increasing inequality between seniors and younger citizens. A brief look across policies shows that program effects are not always positive. Welfare recipients are even less participatory than their modest socioeconomic backgrounds would imply, because of the demeaning and disenfranchising process of proving eligibility. Campbell concludes that program design profoundly shapes the nature of democratic citizenship. And proposed policies--such as Social Security privatization--must be evaluated for both their economic and political effects, because the very quality of democratic government is influenced by the kinds of policies it chooses.

Author Biography

Andrea Louise Campbell is Assistant Professor of Government at Harvard University. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy at Yale University from 2001 to 2003

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE Introduction: The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship 1(13)
CHAPTER TWO Overview: Rising Senior Participation and the Growth of the American Welfare State 14(24)
CHAPTER THREE A Model of Senior Citizen Political Participation 38(27)
CHAPTER FOUR Senior Citizen Participation and Policy over Time 65(28)
CHAPTER FIVE Policy Threat and Seniors' Distinctive Political Voice 93(22)
CHAPTER SIX Congressional Responsiveness 115(10)
CHAPTER SEVEN The Reciprocal Participation-Policy Relationship across Programs 125(13)
CHAPTER EIGHT Participation, Policymaking, and the Political Implications of Program Design 138(9)
APPENDIX A Supplementary Tables 147(14)
APPENDIX B Two-Stage Social Security Participation Model 161(4)
APPENDIX C Senior/Nonsenior Mobilization Ratios by Party, 1956-96 165(1)
APPENDIX D Multiple Interrupted Time-Series Analysis 166(3)
NOTES 169(36)

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