Ideological Roots of Inequality

Hevenstone, Debra (2015). Ideological Roots of Inequality New York: Palgrave Macmillan 10.1057/9781137436306

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The American Myth of Markets in Social Policy examines how implementing American tropes in policy design inadvertently frustrates policy goals. It investigates multiple market-oriented designs including funding for private organizations to deliver public services, funding for individuals to buy services, and policies incentivizing or mandating private actors to provide social policy. The author shows that these solutions often not only fail to achieve social goals, but, in fact, actively undermine them, for example saddling the poor with debt or encouraging discrimination. The book carefully details the mechanisms through which this occurs, for example a mismatch between program goals and either contract terms or individual preferences. The author examines several policies in depth, covering universal social insurance programs like healthcare and pensions, as well as smaller interventions like programs for the homeless. The author builds the argument using detailed empirical evidence as well as anecdote, keeping the book accessible and entertaining.

Item Type:

Book (Monograph)


School of Social Work > Social Security focus area
School of Social Work
School of Social Work > Institute for Social Security and Social Policy


Hevenstone, Debra


H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)




Palgrave Macmillan




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Date Deposited:

20 Aug 2019 09:20

Last Modified:

28 Jan 2020 15:38

Publisher DOI:



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