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"Tough Love": implications for redistributive policy

  • Economics
  • Political Science


Jason Saving explores the economic and political implications of "tough love" for redistributive policy. The American welfare system unquestionably helps support the least fortunate among us, but, in making poverty less onerous, it may discourage employment among some individuals. Traditional notions of altruism assume that compassion for the poor is measured by one's willingness to redistribute income but to the extent that more generous support for the poor actually encourages recipiency, welfare programs simultaneously mitigate and exacerbate the problem of poverty. A "new altruistic" approach that incorporates tough love would reduce the number of poor people but could only do so by worsening the living standards of those who remain in poverty.

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