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978-0-674-30085-9 / 9780674300859

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About the book:

Decades after President Johnson initiated the War on Poverty, it is time for an unbiased assessment of its effects. In this book a distinguished group of economists, sociologists, political scientists, and social policy analysts provide that assessment. Spending on social programs has greatly increased, yet poverty has declined only slightly. Do the numbers alone give an accurate picture? Have the government's efforts, as some critics claim, done more harm than good? The authors of this volume provide a balanced and wide-ranging analysis of antipoverty policies since the 1960s, including both successes and failures.

The evidence shows that simple comparisons of spending levels and poverty trends do not tell the whole story: they obscure the diversity of the poor population and the many complex issues involved in evaluating policies. The authors address such questions as: How do economic growth, social movements, and changes in the welfare system affect the poor? What economic and political factors influence antipoverty programs, and conversely, what implications do these programs have for employment, education, health care, family structure, and civil rights? The authors' account of past failures and their agenda for the next decade show clearly that much remains to be done. Yet they are not as pessimistic as some writers, who maintain that nothing will work. Rather, they say, nothing will work miracles.

As a guide to the economics and politics of antipoverty programs, this volume is peerless. It is certain to become an important reference for students and scholars in the field, for policy analysts and policymakers, and for program administrators.

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