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Brown: Party cleavages and welfare effort in the American states

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Brown. 1995. Party cleavages and welfare effort in the American states. American Political Science Review 89: 23-34.

Scholars have found inconclusive results when studying whether Democratic control of the state government correlates with higher welfare spending. Brown points out that scholars have neglected an important variable: the nature of each state's cleavage system.


Using a novel technique, Brown shows which cleavages matter most in most states (see Table 2, pg 26). He then identifies three ideal types (see Table 3, pg 28):


Hypothesis: States with a class-based (New Deal) cleavage will spend the most on welfare.


State resources (income per capita vs size of welfare-receiving population), elite values (the liberalism of those in government), and racism (which is poorly measured; see below).


See Table 4, pg 30, for regression results. "New Deal" is the baseline category. Thus:

IN ENGLISH: The effect of party control is 9.5 times greater in New Deal states than in post-New Deal states, and 5.5 times stronger in New Deal states than in Southern states. All predictions are borne out.


Research on similar subjects


Brown, Robert (author)American PoliticsSocial CleavagesPartiesDemographyState Politics (U.S.)Political Subcultures

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