The American Myth of Markets in Social Policy

Ideological Roots of Inequality

  • Authors
  • Debra Hevenstone

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Debra Hevenstone
      Pages 1-7
  3. Theory

  4. Policy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Debra Hevenstone
      Pages 235-244
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 245-291

About this book


The American Myth of Markets in Social Policy examines how implementing American tropes in policy design inadvertently frustrates policy goals. The book 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. Hevenstone shows that these solutions often not only fail to achieve social goals, but actively undermine them. The book carefully details the mechanisms through which this occurs, and examines several policies in depth, covering universal social insurance programs like healthcare and pensions, as well as smaller interventions like programs for the homeless.


Social Policy Pragmatism Reinventing Government Policy Design Federalism Fiscal Federalism Behavioral Economics Social Impact Bonds Outsourcing Vouchers Benefit Reduction Rate Program Evaluation Outcome Measures Creaming Unintended Incentives Choice Poverty Inequality Pensions Social Security care Design evaluation family policy Homelessness labor market labor markets Nation poverty prejudice social insurance social policy social security

Bibliographic information