Title

Effects of U.S. States’ Social Welfare Systems on Population Health

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Source

Policy Studies Journal

Volume

37

Issue

4

Inclusive pages

745-767

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Social scientists have studied the welfare state extensively. Many studies seek to understand the determinants of the welfare state; however, a few have explored the social consequences of social welfare systems, especially on health outcomes of the population. Even though cross-national comparative studies support the thesis that the welfare state regime type, which represents different levels of commitment on social welfare, is closely linked to population health, there is little research to support this argument at a sub-national level. To fill the gap, this study explores the effects of the U.S. states' social welfare systems on health using age-adjusted mortality rates as a proxy for population health. By operationalizing social welfare systems as three dimensions—public expenditures, tax structures, and welfare program rules—we find that more generous education spending, progressive tax systems, and more lenient welfare program rules help to improve population health. The model corrects for first-order serial correlation using Prais-Winsten regression methods and is estimated with state and year-fixed effects.

Keywords

welfare state;population health;mortality;public expenditures;tax progressivity;welfare program rules;comparative studies

Disciplines

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

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