The American Welfare System: Origins, Structure, and Effects

By Howard Gensler | Go to book overview

in the states. 316 Finally, for comparison, there is the number of states in each enactment grouping that had achieved, in at least one form or another, a 14-year age limit in manufacturing by 1909. 317

As can be seen from these figures, there is a very strong and sharp relationship between a state's effort to control child labor and the early enactment of mothers' pensions, a relationship that looks quite dramatic when compared to those produced by the political and economic variables. In all three cases, the relationships are in the hypothesized directions. Moreover, not only are the relationships strong, but also these variables are most strongly associated with the earliest enactments. They still do well with the South, too, where the party competition and economic development variables did best only at predicting the slowest enactors. 318 Theda Skocpol, for example, confirms the strong role played by middle-class women's clubs in supporting mothers' pensions, while independently verifying the importance of underlying child labor reforms. Skocpol writes:

Our statistical study revealed that the prior public policies and wage-labor-force characteristics of the various states in 1910 influenced how quickly they enacted mothers' pension laws after that. States with stricter child labor laws and higher levels of per capita expenditures on public schools in 1910 tended to enact mothers' pensions sooner. 319

The case studies demonstrate that enforcement variables seemed ultimately most important in predicting the timing and coverage of mothers' pension laws. 320

These results, of course, show only an association. They do not prove that child labor reform caused the enactment of mothers' pension legislation. The causal argument is reserved for the case studies introduced in the remaining chapters. Nevertheless, these results are at least highly consistent with the hypothesis, especially because of the ability of the child labor variables to differentiate between all three groups of enactors.


NOTES
233.
Samuel M. Lindsay, "Child Labor and the Public Schools," Annals 29 ( January 1907), 104.
234.
For important recent exceptions, see Theda Skockpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992) and Paul E. Peterson and Mark C. Rom, Welfare Magnets: A New Case for a National Standard ( Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1990).
235.
See, for example, Thomas Dye, Politics in States and Communities ( Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1973), p. 474.

-91-

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The American Welfare System: Origins, Structure, and Effects
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • I - The Origins of the American Welfare System 1
  • 1 - The Child and the American Welfare State 3
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - The New View of the Child 23
  • Notes 48
  • 3 - Progressive Priorities 55
  • Notes 69
  • 4 - Child Labor and the Mothers' Pension Movement 73
  • Notes 91
  • 5 - The Democratization of Outdoor Relief 97
  • Notes 120
  • 6 - Child Labor and Southern Patriotism 125
  • Notes 150
  • 7 - Farm Labor and "City-Centered" Child Welfare 155
  • Notes 168
  • 8 - The Case of Mothers' Pensions in Memphis 171
  • Notes 185
  • 9 - The Child and the State 189
  • Notes 194
  • II - The Structure and Effects of Welfare 197
  • 10 - The Structure of the American Welfare System 199
  • Notes 215
  • 11 - Behavioral Effects from Welfare 219
  • Notes 226
  • 12 - Reform 231
  • Notes 235
  • 13 - Welfare Policy: Point and Counterpoint 237
  • Notes 266
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 289
  • About the Editor and Contributors 295
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