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31. By the same token, I have said little about the politics of workers’ compensation within and across the states, a good topic for future research.

32. For a related insight, see Orren and Skowronek’s discussion of the “nonsimultaneity of institutional origins” that are one source of the “patterned disorder” in American politics (1994: 323, 330). Just as tensions and discontinuities exist between the development of large-scale institutions like the presidency and the party system, so too among smaller-scale institutions like social policies.

33. I disagree with Pierson that state officials classify unemployment insurance as income support for the poor, along with AFDC, Food Stamps, Old Age Assistance, and Aid to the Blind.

34. To be fair, Pierson explicitly limits his claims to income transfers and deliberately excludes “cases of service provision (for example, health care, housing) in which the distributional impact of policies may be less clear-cut and the dynamics of multitiered decisionmaking are probably most complex” (1995: 302, fn 2). Workers’ compensation is not a great test of this conclusion, for it combines income transfers and service provision. A cleaner test might be Medicaid or job training. My hunch, however, is that workers’ compensation stands apart because of its reliance on powerful economic actors – insurance companies, self-insured employers, doctors, hospitals, and lawyers – to help administer the program.

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