Case #162.0

Policy Advocacy: The Case of the Family Assistance Program (A)

Publication Date: January 01, 1977
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On August 8, 1969, President Nixon announced a plan to revamp the nation's public welfare system by abolishing the 35-year-old AFDC program and replacing it with his Family Assistance Plan, which would guarantee a $1,600 annual income for a family of four. There was general agreement that the plan was a bold one, and surprise that it was proposed at all. The case examines the process whereby Nixon came to propose this unexpected reform. It focuses chiefly on the efforts of one reform advocate--Daniel Moynihan, assistant to the president for urban affairs--to persuade Nixon to adopt a more far-reaching approach to the chronic problems of welfare.

Learning Objective:
This case has been used to illuminate issues of policy advocacy. Although Moynihan was largely successful in getting the reforms he had been advocating, presidential counselor John Erlichman emerged as the president's chief adviser on domestic matters. The case illustrates the distinction between an "entrepreneurial" policy advocate and a policy manager and underlines the need of the decision-maker at the top to have an "honest broker" who will bring order to the sometimes chaotic process of policy, advocacy and development.

Other Details

Case Author:
William J. Mates and Franklin Raines
Faculty Lead:
Philip Heymann
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States