Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. James Johnson

Second Advisor

Dr. Orville Menard

Third Advisor

Dr. Phil Secret


Public policy in the American states has attracted the attention of an increasing number of political scientists in recent times. Many and varied kinds of studies have been done to determine the relationships between factors in the political environments of American states and the content of the public policies of these states. The results of these studies vary as do the studies themselves. More often than not, the findings contradict each other. One such contradiction is observed in the findings of studies on the relationship between economic and political factors within the political environment and state public policy. Some studies identify economic factors as the major determinants of state public policy while others claim that political factors play the major role in determining public policy. I observed an environmental factor that has not been given sufficient attention in many of these controversial studies. Many researchers have not seriously considered political culture as a possible prominent influence in the makinq of state public policy. The stimulus from this discovery coupled with the curiosity to find out what lies behind that of which little is known, impelled me to embark upon this study that uses the path analytic technique and hypothesizes that political culture, vis-a-vis wealth and political participation, makes the greatest impact on the welfare policies of the states in the plains and southeastern regions of America. It was found that when the direct and indirect impacts of independent variables (political culture, wealth, and political participation) upon the dependent variable (welfare) are taken into account, none of these impacts equals that of political culture. Subsidiary hypotheses also show that states with moralistic subcultures pay higher welfare benefits than states with traditionalistic subcultures, and that the difference in the amount of welfare benefits does not stem primarily from differences in wealth. Although the methodology employed in this study is open to further refinement, it has shown the need to develop and test causal relationships in the study of public policy in American states. I express my gratitude to Dr. James Johnson who gave much of his time to encourage and direct me during this study and to Professor Orville Menard and Dr. Phil Secret for their invaluable advice and corrections. I also thank my wife, my mother-in-law, and my two sons for patiently enduring some of the inconveniences which my devotion to this study brought upon them.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1984, Ihemelam Joshua Uhiara