The purpose of this research is to evaluate Alfred Kahn's concept of "social provision" as it relates to whether allocation of provision should be based on universalist or selectivist strategies. To this end, the paper first presents Kahn's formulations of provision/allocation concepts. This formulation is then followed by a review of evaluative articles and research related to Kahn's notions.
Alfred Kahn's Concepts of Social Provision and Allocation
In order to fully understand, Kahn's (1973) notions of social provisions and allocation, it is necessary to first have a firm understanding of the term "social provision." According to Gilbert and Specht (1986), social provisions (benefits provided by governmental agencies to agencies' clients) can be conceptualized as falling into the following six categories:
(1) Opportunities - Benefits in the form of opportunities consist of circumstances structured (either through incentives or sanctions) to achieve ends considered desirable by the social welfare system; e.g. the provision of extra points on a civil service examine to minority groups.
(2) Services - This category of benefits refers to the performance of certain functions on behalf of clients; e.g. the provisions of counseling, referral and vocational training.
(3) Goods - Benefits falling into this category consist of concrete commodities; e.g., food, housing, clothing, and so forth.
(4) Credits - This benefit consists of credits or vouchers used by clients to procure provisions; e.g. the use of a voucher to obtain instructional services at a parent-selected school.
(5) Cash - Cash benefits are direct allocations of money.
(6) Power - This form of social provision operates at the policy or political activist level where, due to a variety of influences and pressures, control over goods and services are redistributed so as to better benefit clients.
It is important to note that there are two schools of thou...