Course Catalog


History and Political Economy of Social Policy Toward the Elderly

In the United States public policy toward the elderly is a relatively recent phenomenon, first articulated in the 1935 landmark Social Security legislation. Participants study the history that led up to the development of Social Security and go on to use it as a context in which to examine other significant federal legislation for the aged such as Medicare and Medicaid. Particular emphasis is placed on the competing political forces that influenced the development of aging policy in the past and continue to do so. Economic, social, and health-related benefits for the aged in the United States are analyzed in comparison to those existing for other age groups in this country, and for the elderly in other industrialized nations.

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