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Title: Explaining inter-state variation in aid for children at private religious schools in the United States, up to 2012
Author: Hackett, Ursula
ISNI:       0000 0003 7069 7715
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This American Political Development research explains cross-state variation in aid for children at private religious schools in the United States up to the end of 2012. Using a mixed-methods approach I examine how the institutional orderings of Federalism, Constitution, Church and Party affect policymaker decisions to instigate and sustain programmes of aid. By ‘aid’ I mean education vouchers and tax credits, transportation, textbook loans, equipment, nursing and food services, and tax exemptions for private religious school property. I conduct Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis across all fifty states, supported by interview and archival research in six case-study states – California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New York and Utah – and by statistical treatment of the constitutional amendments known as ‘No-Aid Provisions’. All of the aid policies examined here are ‘submerged’ in Mettler’s terms, in that they help private organizations to take on state functions, re-frame such functions in terms of the marketplace, and are poorly understood by the public. In this thesis I extend Mettler’s conception of submergedness to explain when institutions matter, which institutions matter, and why they matter for religious school student aid. State decentralization is necessary for high levels of aid and a high proportion of Catholics is sufficient for high levels of aid. Republican control of the state offices is a necessary condition for the passage of tax credit or voucher scholarships but not for other types of aid. No-Aid Provisions are unrelated to aid. Of the four institutional explanatory conditions, Federalism and Church have the most important effects on aid for children at private religious schools. Party explains some types of aid but not all, and Constitution is surprisingly lacking in explanatory power.
Supervisor: King, Desmond; Hood, Christopher Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: American politics ; Political science ; Local Government ; Public policy ; Religion and politics ; US politics ; Education