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This dissertation consists of three individual studies on the role of state governments in social welfare. The first paper discusses the relationship between gubernatorial administrative capacity and the ability for Democrats to increase social welfare spending after the state has experienced an economic downturn. Using panel data for 49 US states from 1987 to 2014, I examine whether budgetary authority allows governors to respond to an economic contraction in the expected partisan matter. I find evidence to support the view that governors shape budget policy in a manner that is consistent with their preferences. The second paper is on the decentralization of Medicaid and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by the national government to the state governments to see if the programs were made worse off in performing their goal of poverty alleviation. Decentralization is measured using expenditure ratios of state general fund spending to federal government spending. I find that more state involvement in Medicaid reduces expected poverty growth even after controlling for state economic, political, and demographic factors. Although no effect was found from AFDC/TANF decentralization, the results do demonstrate a positive impact from more state involvement in Medicaid. The final study is on the impact of social assistance programs on infant health. Infant mortality rates are an important indicator of population health. The primary goal of this chapter is to serve as an evaluation of government redistributive programs and population health. Do the outputs of social assistance programs reach their intended beneficiaries? I find that increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and TANF benefit generosity within states has a negative association with overall infant mortality after controlling for economic development and additional factors related to infant health.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Political Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Charles Barrilleaux, Professor Directing Dissertation; Katrinell Davis, University Representative; Eric Coleman, Committee Member; Carol Weissert, Committee Member; William G. Weissert, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Swanson, J. V. (2019). Is State Safety Net Capacity Adequate to Meet Basic Needs? Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2019_Summer_Swanson_fsu_0071E_15281