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Professor Jerry Mashaw Co-Authors New Book on Social Insurance

Sterling Professor of Law Jerry Mashaw has co-authored a new book titled Social Insurance: America’s Neglected Heritage and Contested Future (Sage Press, 2013). The book, which examines the history, economics, politics, and philosophy of America's most important social insurance programs, was written with Professor Theodore R. Marmor and John Pakutka.

Touted as one of the best one-volume introductions to the American welfare state ever written, Social Insurance offers a clear intellectual foundation for social insurance programs by clearly explaining what they have and have not achieved while debunking their myths. The book focuses on six major threats to family income that were traditionally addressed by social insurance programs, including birth into a poor family, early death of a family breadwinner, health problems, involuntary unemployment, disability, and outliving one’s retirement savings. The researchers assert that protecting social insurance and ensuring equality of opportunity are essentially the values about which Americans most often agree—both on the right and on the left.The book uses stories, data, and analysis to determine how current policies impact the programs in place to help individuals and families in these positions, and asks if they are doing enough.

“American social insurance programs presuppose that you are entitled not because you are a part of the nation, but because of your contribution to the nation; funding is linked to earnings, and entitlement is defined largely by years of work. That the protection of social insurance—and the demand for its expansion—should be thought to be the distinctive position of ‘liberals’ is, to say the least, ironic,” the authors stated.

“That the reform of social insurance should be thought to be best accomplished by moving in the direction of market-like devices that shift risks onto individuals and families that are already vulnerable to the staggering economic uncertainties of a rapidly globalizing economy is, in our view, a serious mistake.”

Mashaw teaches courses at Yale Law School on administrative law, social welfare policy, regulation, legislation, and the design of public institutions. He formerly taught at Tulane University and the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books, including Creating the Administrative Constitution: The Lost One Hundred Years of American Administrative Law (Yale University Press 2012), which was recently jointly chosen as  the best published work in administrative law by the American Bar Association.

Marmor is a Professor Emeritus of public policy and management and Professor Emeritus of political science at Yale University. John Pakutka is managing director of The Crescent Group, an advisory services firm with expertise in healthcare management, policy, and litigation.