Introduction: The Distributional Impacts of Public Policies

  • Sheldon H. Danziger
  • Kent E. Portney
Part of the Policy Studies Organization Series book series (PSOS)


Over the past 20 years economists, political scientists, sociologists, and other social scientists have put substantial effort into examining the different kinds of ‘distributional impacts’ of various public policies. The disciplines begin with different underlying theories and notions of what are the interesting and important questions. For example, economists often study the trade-offs between efficiency and the achievement of a particular distribution of benefits (Okun, 1975; Thurow, 1980), sociologists are more interested in a policy’s implications for the perpetuation and modification of class differences in society (Parkin, 1971; Heller, 1972), and political scientists focus on theories of power and regime stability (Russett, 1964; Midlarksy and Tanter, 1967) and more recently on the nature of domestic policy-making processes (Lowi, 1964; Lowi, 1972; Ripley and Franklin, 1980).


Child Support Income Class Absent Father Social Security Benefit Reagan Administration 
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© Policy Studies Organization 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheldon H. Danziger
  • Kent E. Portney

There are no affiliations available

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