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Susan E. Mayer on Welfare State - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 218
Welfare state/Susan Mayer/Moon: In a recent study aptly titled What Money Can Buy (1997(1)), Susan Mayer has examined the 'functionings' of children, adolescents, and young adults, and correlated them with family income. Her findings, consistent with Sen’s general argument about the relationship between resources and functionings, (>Welfare state/Sen) are that, above a basic level, in most cases 'additional parental income does not improve children's chances for success' (1997(1): 2).
Mayer hypothesizes that the reason that income has such a limited effect is that other parental characteristics, such as 'skills, diligence, honesty, good health, and reliability, also improve children's life chances, independent of their effect on parents' income. Children of parents with these attributes do well even when their parents do not have much income' (1997(1): 3). The more general point here is that functionings that are important for full membership or citizenship depend upon internalized dispositions and skills and not merely on access to external resources. Thus, it might be concluded, ensuring equal citizenship requires programmes that go beyond the provision of external resources. >Welfare state/Welfare economics, >Welfare state/ Political philosophy.


1. Mayer, Susan (1997) What Money Can 't Buy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Moon, J. Donald 2004. „The Political Theory of the Welfare State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Mayer, Susan E.
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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