The United States is generally recognised as an exemplar of liberal policy regime types. However, given evidence of state-level divergence in social policy, this article investigates to what extent such variation is present and relevant in state-level family policy. To this end, we pose a primary and secondary research question. Our primary question is whether varieties of liberalism exist across the 50 states in the United States. Our secondary question is whether these varieties of liberalism correspond to variety in social indicators of families' economic well-being. To answer our primary question, we first construct a family policy index that scores the relative generosity and coverage of state-administered social programmes that contribute to the (de)commodification and (de)familialisation of households with children. We then perform a cluster analysis to group states by shared decommodifying and defamilialising features. To answer our secondary question, we investigate how our family-policy clusters are associated with social indicators of families' financial security. Our findings suggest that varieties of liberalism do, indeed, exist within the United States. With the exception of Vermont, which stands out with respect to its comparatively generous family policies, we classify states into two groups: those with ‘soft’ liberal family policy in states featuring relatively generous and accessible policies and ‘hard’ liberal family policy in states achieving little of either. We find that these differences help explain state-level heterogeneity in levels of economic security among households with children, particularly single-mother households.

Varieties of liberalism: a comparative analysis of family policy and poverty outcomes across the 50 United States

Parolin, Zachary
2020

Abstract

The United States is generally recognised as an exemplar of liberal policy regime types. However, given evidence of state-level divergence in social policy, this article investigates to what extent such variation is present and relevant in state-level family policy. To this end, we pose a primary and secondary research question. Our primary question is whether varieties of liberalism exist across the 50 states in the United States. Our secondary question is whether these varieties of liberalism correspond to variety in social indicators of families' economic well-being. To answer our primary question, we first construct a family policy index that scores the relative generosity and coverage of state-administered social programmes that contribute to the (de)commodification and (de)familialisation of households with children. We then perform a cluster analysis to group states by shared decommodifying and defamilialising features. To answer our secondary question, we investigate how our family-policy clusters are associated with social indicators of families' financial security. Our findings suggest that varieties of liberalism do, indeed, exist within the United States. With the exception of Vermont, which stands out with respect to its comparatively generous family policies, we classify states into two groups: those with ‘soft’ liberal family policy in states featuring relatively generous and accessible policies and ‘hard’ liberal family policy in states achieving little of either. We find that these differences help explain state-level heterogeneity in levels of economic security among households with children, particularly single-mother households.
2020
2020
Daiger von Gleichen, Rosa; Parolin, Zachary
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4040506
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