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The Needs of a Lifetime: The Search for Security, 1865-1914


Most histories that examine the development of social insurance programs in the United States have long focused on the efforts of political action groups or government established programs. These histories and studies have ignored the impact of individual based decision making driven by precautionary savings motives, and the life-cycle theory of savings. By examining critical institutional developments both in the private market and public sector we can redefine our understanding of the economic landscape of the late-nineteenth century United States. Civil War pensions and life insurance are understudied institutions. Elderly men in the United States depended and relied on these two different programs to provide for them in old age in an era without Social Security.

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