Implementing the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996
A First Look
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Examines the implementation of the 1996 national welfare reform act and summarizes field-research findings.
Focusing on what happens to national policies after they are made, the authors discover that there are surprises in the implementation of the 1996 Personal Responsibility Act and its connections to other social agencies and programs. Bureaucracies typically don't change this much and this fast. Why did it happen this time around? The book highlights three S's to encapsulate the changes that are occurring—Signals, Services, Sanctions. Emphasis is placed on "second-order devolution," the crucial role of front-line workers, the relationship between employment services and cash payment systems, varieties in goal clusters among the states and locally, the new role of "diversion" before welfare recipiency, and the condition and importance of welfare information systems. Field researchers in twenty states are conducting this ongoing study in conjunction with Rockefeller Institute central staff.
Richard P. Nathan is Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Thomas L. Gais is Director of the Federalism Research Group at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.