America's Debt Safety-Net

Montgomerie, Johnna. 2013. America's Debt Safety-Net. Public Administration, 91(4), pp. 871-888. ISSN 0033-3298 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

This article evaluates the rapid escalation of American household debt in relation to the changing dynamics of liberal welfare capitalism. Starting with the outcome of rising household debt levels during the credit and asset bubble of 2001–7 it argues that the failure of asset-based welfare and the inability of households to move beyond their historical dependence on earned income made indebtedness essential to household social participation and protection. It examines the unique relationship of young adults (households headed by persons under age 35) and senior citizens (households headed by persons over age 65) to the liberal welfare regime, in particular the ways in which these relationships were shaped by the 2001–7 credit and asset bubble. By using a framework in which debt is analyzed as a claim against income, alongside other costs of social participation and daily living, we see the impact of the credit and asset boom on both young adults and senior citizens: growing indebtedness and financial insecurity.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



December 2013Published
20 March 2013Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

24 Oct 2013 09:02

Last Modified:

23 Apr 2021 14:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)