Probable justice: risk, insurance, and the welfare state

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


"The welfare state has today become a political cudgel used to assign blame for ballooning national debt and tout the need for personal responsibility. Despite objections, social insurance-from workers' compensation laws to pension, disability, and unemployment benefits, to healthcare and parental leave policies-defines the modern welfare state and permeates daily life. Any rationale for a system of social insurance has to account for these questions: How do we assess the burden of risk over time? How do we decide who and what to cover, and at what cost? Probable Justice traces a history of social insurance, from the idea of social accountability through the advanced welfare state of collective responsibility and risk. At the heart of Rachel Z. Friedman's investigation is a study of how social insurance systems employ probability theory to flexibly distribute coverage and measure risk. Friedman reveals that the political genius of probabilistic social insurance is to allow for myriad accommodations of needs, risks, financing, and political aims, and thereby promote liberal social justice"--
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationChicago
PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
Number of pages254
ISBN (Electronic)022673076X, 022673109X, 9780226731094
ISBN (Print)022673093X, 9780226730769, 9780226730936
StatePublished - 2020


  • Social security -- United States
  • Welfare state
  • Risk
  • Probabilities
  • Electronic books

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Probabilities
  • Risk -- United States
  • Social security -- United States
  • Welfare state -- United States
  • ביטחון סוציאלי -- ארצות הברית
  • الأمن الاجتماعي -- الولايات المتحدة
  • Statistical inference -- Probabilities
  • Probability
  • OASDI (United States)
  • Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (United States)


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