U.S. Social Policy

The U.S. Capitol Building.

Policymaking in the US sometimes requires privileging some interests over others. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Morton.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2006



Cite This Course

Course Description

This subject examines the historical development and contemporary politics of social policy in the United States. We will discuss the kinds of risks individuals face over a lifetime and why some are ameliorated by social policy while others are not (and how the U.S. is similar or different from other countries in this regard). We will examine the policymaking process in the U.S., why some alternatives are implemented and others abandoned, why some interests are privileged over others, and how the designs of policies can feed back and shape politics in a given policy area. Along the way we will examine interactions among political institutions, policy elites, the media, and the mass public.

Andrea Campbell. 17.317 U.S. Social Policy, Spring 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.