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The Social Wage, Welfare Policy, and the Phases of Capital Accumulation

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  • Jamee K. Moudud
  • Ajit Zacharias

Abstract

This paper addresses two broad questions. The first one relates to the economic rationale for the existence of the welfare state. To address this question, we review the marginalist arguments and then counterpose a historical and institutional analysis of the rise of the U.S. welfare state. The second question concerns the macroeconomic impacts of welfare spending. We examine the standard neoclassical macroeconomic arguments for and against welfare cutbacks and then propose an alternative growth framework, rooted in the classical and Harrodian traditions, to evaluate social policy. We argue that the alternative framework provides both demand-side and supply-side mechanisms whereby social spending can be supported without harmful long-run macroeconomic effects. Our analysis suggests that, in general, because growth and crises are endogenous, there may be no tension between social policy and economic performance. Specifically, the recent cutbacks in the U.S. are hard to justify on purely economic grounds.

Suggested Citation

  • Jamee K. Moudud & Ajit Zacharias, 1999. "The Social Wage, Welfare Policy, and the Phases of Capital Accumulation," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_291, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_291
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Haliassos, Michael & Tobin, James, 1990. "The macroeconomics of government finance," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 889-959 Elsevier.
    3. Morrison, Catherine J & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 1996. "State Infrastructure and Productive Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1095-1111, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jamee K. Moudud, 2000. "Harrod versus Thirlwall: A Reassessment of Export-Led Growth," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_316, Levy Economics Institute.
    2. Jose G. VARGAS-HERNANDEZ, 2015. "The Question of Changing the Concept, Paperand Functions of State," Journal of Economics Library, KSP Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 53-67, June.

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