Conference, Old Assumptions, New Realities: Economic Security for Working Families in the 21st Century

Awarded Scholars:
Marcia K. Meyers, University of Washington
Robert Plotnick, University of Washington
Project Date:
May 2008
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

For over seventy years, the Social Security Act (SSA) has provided the foundation for incremental expansion of national social insurance programs. Federal, state, and local governments have addressed gaps in the initial SSA provisions over time by developing a large array of programs targeted to specific populations and needs—from health and nutritional assistance for low-income pregnant women to public and subsidized housing, means-tested child care subsidies, and public preschool services. But the organization of work and family life has changed dramatically since the SSA was implemented in 1935. What are the implications for policy?


To understand the effects of the SSA on the evolution of social programs for working families, economists Marcia Meyers and Robert Plotnick organized a conference to examine the implications of the contemporary labor market, family organization, and demographic realities for the design of social policy. Conference papers were edited and published in a Russell Sage Foundation volume, Old Assumptions, New Realities: Ensuring Economic Security for Working Families in the 21st Century.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


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