George R. Boyer is professor of economics and international and comparative labor at Cornell University. He is the author of An Economic History of the English Poor Law, 1750-1850.
In this book, George Boyer convincingly maps and explains the twists and turns of income shocks and British social policy from the Industrial Revolution to the postwar welfare state. After lagging behind other countries in the building of safety nets, Britain became a social-policy leader only when changes in political voice and public opinion permitted it. -Peter Lindert, University of California, Davis George Boyer offers a critical reappraisal of the rise of the welfare state in this deep study of economic insecurity, political voice, and poor relief policy in Britain. Boyer's innovation is to study living standards and social policy together, arguing persuasively that neither can be understood absent the other. What he calls the `amazing persistence' of economic insecurity is rendered entirely understandable by the vast trove of economic, political, and social evidence he subjects to his perceptive analytic lens. -Anne E. C. McCants, Massachusetts Institute of Technology A well-written and persuasive account of complex crosscurrents in the economic, social, and political history of Great Britain, The Winding Road to the Welfare State reminds us that economic insecurity is still with us, as seen through the rise of the gig economy and hostility to skivers. Politicians who seek answers should read this book. -Roderick Floud, former provost of Gresham College, London The Winding Road to the Welfare State represents a major contribution to the study of more than a century of British social and economic history, and has important implications for the debates on contemporary welfare and redistribution policy in the West. -Stanley Engerman, professor emeritus, University of Rochester