Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Claire Halverson


Each day, millions of poor men, women and children struggle to make ends meet in the United States. The public assistance system in the United States is designed as a temporary safety net to help the poor survive their bout with poverty as they make the transition back to solvency. Millions of welfare recipients are treated as an entity receiving benefits from a massive one-size-fits-all system that is not working. Under the pseudo-name "welfare reform," the President of the United States and legislators are proclaiming efforts to fix the system.

How the public assistance system has gone wrong in this country is under considerable debate. Many of these debates assume that all citizens have the same cultural perspective, yet several cultures exist within the United States. The suggestions for reform of the welfare system appear to be based on a set of values from one particular cultural perspective. Few studies have addressed the cultural impact of these policies on recipients who have a different set of values and therefore a very different set of behavior patterns.


Political Economy | Public Administration | Public Policy