The Divided Welfare State is the first comprehensive political analysis of America's system of public and private social benefits. Everyone knows that the American welfare state is less expensive and extensive, later to develop and slower to grow, than comparable programs abroad. American social spending is as high as spending in many European nations. What is distinctive is that so many social welfare duties are handled by the private sector with government support. With historical reach and statistical and cross-national evidence, The Divided Welfare State demonstrates that private social benefits have not been shaped by public policy, but have deeply influenced the politics of public social programs - to produce a social policy framework whose political and social effects are strikingly different than often assumed. At a time of fierce new debates about social policy, this book is essential to understanding the roots of America's distinctive model and its future possibilities.