This book explains why the U.S. welfare state does less than other Western welfare states to help people in need. Combining a state-of-the-art account of recent research on how political institutions, class politics, and racial divisions shape public policy with a close analysis of four periods of welfare state expansion and contraction, Noble shows how deeply-rooted structural, institutional, and organizational factors limit the possibilities for change, and suggests what social reformers might do about it.

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