Faculty Profiles

Joel Handler

Joel F. Handler

Richard C. Maxwell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
A.B. Princeton, 1954
J.D. Harvard, 1957
UCLA Faculty Since 1985


Blame Welfare, Ignore Poverty and Inequality (with Yeheskel Hasenfeld). Cambridge University Press (2006).
Social Citizenship and Workfare in the United States and Western Europe - The Paradox of Inclusion. Cambridge University Press (2004).
Hard Labor: Poor Women and Work in the Post-Welfare Era (edited by Joel Handler and Lucie White). E. Sharpe (1999).
We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare Reform (with Yeheskel Hasenfeld). Yale University Press (1997).
Down From Bureaucracy: The Ambiguity of Privatization and Empowerment. Princeton University Press (1996).
The Poverty of Welfare Reform. Yale University Press (1996).
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings (with Gordon L. Berlin et al.). National Academy Press (1993). National Research Council; Panel on High-Risk Youth (Joel F. Handler, chair). 
The Moral Construction of Poverty: Welfare Reform in America (with Yeheskel Hasenfeld). Sage Publications (1991).
Law and the Search for Community. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press (1990).
The Conditions of Discretion: Autonomy, Community, Bureaucracy. Russell Sage Foundation (1986).
Poor Clients Without Lawyers: What Can Be Done? (edited by Joel F. Handler and Louise Trubek). Clearinghouse Rev. (1985). Special Issue.
Last Resorts: Emergency Assistance and Special Needs Programs in Public Welfare (with Michael Sosin). Academic Press (1983).
Neither Angels Nor Thieves: Studies in the Deinstitutionalization of Juvenile Status Offenders (edited by Joel F. Handler and Julie Zatz). National Academy of Science Press (1982).
Protecting the Social Service Client: Legal and Structural Controls on Official Discretion. Academic Press (1978).
Lawyers and the Pursuit of Legal Rights (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth and Howard S. Erlanger). Academic Press (1978).
Public Interest Law: An Economic and Institutional Analysis (with Burton A. Weisbrod and Neil K. Komesar). University of California Press (1978).
Social Movements and the Legal System: A Theory of Law Reform and Social Change. Academic Press (1978).
The Coercive Social Worker: British Lessons for American Social Services. Rand McNally (1973).
Reforming the Poor: Welfare Policy, Federalism and Morality. Basic Books (1972).
The "Deserving Poor": A Study in Welfare Administration (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth). Markham (1971).
Family Law and the Poor: Essays by Jacobus ten Broek (edited by Joel F. Handler). Greenwood Press (1971).
The Lawyer and His Community: The Practicing Bar in a Middle-Sized City. Univ. of Wisconsin Press (1967).

Articles and Chapters

Review, 5 European Review of Contract Law 1 (2009). Reviewing Welfare to Work: Conditional Rights in Social Policy, by Amir Paz-Fuchs.
Poverty Law (with Casey MacGregor), in The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (edited by Stanley Katz, Oxford University Press, 2009).
Welfare (with Amanda Sheely), in The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (edited by Stanley Katz, Oxford University Press, 2009).
The Rise and Spread of Workfare, Activation, Devolution, and Privatization, and the Changing Status of Citizenship, UCLA School of Law Working Paper Series, Public Law & Legal Theory Paper No. 08-05 (2008). Published also in SIRN Poverty, Income Distribution & Income Assistance APS Vol.5, No. 3/14/2008. Full Text
The Failure of Workfare: Another Reason for a Basic Income Guarantee (with Amanda Sheely Babcock), 1 Basic Income Security 3 (2006). Abstract
Welfare Reform and Deform (with Danielle Seiden), in Law and Class in America: Trends Since the Cold War (edited by Paul Carrington & Trina Jones, NYU Press, 2006).
Ending Welfare as We Know It: Welfare Reform in the United States, in Administering Welfare Reform: International Transformations in Welfare Governance (edited by Paul Henman & Menno Fenger, Policy Press, 2006).
Activation Policies and the European Social Model, in Unwrapping the European Social Model (edited by Amparo Serrano Pascual & Maria Jepsen, Policy Press, 2006).
Workfare Work: The Impact of Workfare on the Worker/Client Relationship, 3(2) Social Work & Society 174-81 (2005). Full Text
Social Citizenship and Workfare in the U.S. and Western Europe: From Status to Contract, in Promoting Income Security as a Right: Europe and North America (edited by Guy Standing, Anthem Press, 2005).
Myth and Ceremony in Workfare: Rights, Contracts, and Client Satisfaction, 34 Journal of Socio-Economics 101-24 (2005). Full Text
U.S. Welfare Reform: The Big Experiment, in Governing Work and Welfare in a New Economy: European and American Experiments (edited by Jonathan Zeitlin and David Trubek, Oxford University Press, 2003).
Quiescence: The Scylla and Charybdis of Empowerment, in Laboring Below the Line: The New Ethnography of Poverty, Low-Wage Work, and Survival in the Global Economy (edited by Frank Munger, Russell Sage Foundation, 2002).
Welfare Reform: Tightening the Screws, in Women at the Margins: Neglect, Punishment and Resistance 33-54 (edited by Josefina Figueria-McDonough & Rosemary Sarri, The Haworth Press, 2002).
Poverty Law, in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (edited by Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes, Elsevier, ScienceDirect, 2002).
Social Citizenship and Workfare in the U.S. and Western Europe: From Status to Contract, 3 L'Assestenza Sociale, Ediesse (2002). Reprinted in 13 Journal of European Social Policy (2003); in Entre el trabajo y la politica: la reforma neoliberal de las politicas sociales argentines en una perspectiva comparada (edited by Javier Lindenboim and Claudia Danani, Editorial Biblos, 2003); in Promoting Income Security as a Right: Europe and North America (edited by Guy Standing, 2005).
The Paradox of Inclusion: Social Citizenship and Active Labor Market Policies, UCLA School of Law Working Paper Series No. 01-20 (2001). Full Text
"Ending Welfare As We know It": The Win/Win Spin or the Stench of Victory, 5 Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice 131-75 (2001).
The "Third Way" or the Old Way?, 48 University of Kansas Law Review 765-800 (2000). Abstract
Questions About Social Europe by an American Observer, 18 Wisconsin International Law Journal 437-76 (2000).
Chicago School Reform: Enablement or Empowerment?, 2 The Good Society, Committee on the Political Economy 9-13 (1998).
Poverty, Dependency, and Social Welfare: Procedural Justice for the Poor, in Justice and Power in Sociolegal Studies 136-165 (edited by Garth, et al., Northwestern Univ. Press, 1998).
Welfare-to-Work: Reform or Rhetoric?, 50 Administrative Law Review 635-58 (1998).
Living with Ambiguity, 23 Law & Social Inquiry 223-225 (1998).
Welfare Reform: Is It For Real?, 3 Loyola Poverty Law Journal 135-163 (1997).
Welfare Reform: The Impact on California, in California Policy Options (edited by L. Kimbell, X. Kayden et. al, The UCLA Policy Forum and the UCLA Business Forecasting Project, The School of Public Policy and Social Research, 1997).
Welfare Reform in the United States, 35 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 289 (1997).
Women, Families, Work, and Poverty: A Cloudy Future, 6 UCLA Women's Law Journal 375-426 (1996).
Ending Welfare As We Know It: Wrong for Welfare, Wrong for Poverty, 2 Georgetown Journal on Fighting Poverty 3 (1994).
Comments and Discussion on Part I, Religion and Law; Section B., Concepts and Rights: Introduction (with others), 28 Law & Society Review 503-09 (1994). Special Issue: Law & Society in Southeast Asia.
Comments and Discussion on Part III, Land and the Natural Environment; Section B., Forests (with others), Law & Society Review 665-69 (1994). Special Issue: Law & Society in Southeast Asia.
Comments and Discussion on Part III, Land and the Natural Environment; Section C., Shifting Cultivators and Cultural Minorities (with others), 28 Law & Society Review 699-705 (1994). Special Issue: Law & Society in Southeast Asia.
Two Years and You're Out (Response to Article by Martha Minow), 26 Connecticut Law Review 857-69 (1994).
Welfare and Work Policies (with Paul Ong), in The State of Asian Pacific America: Economic Diversity, Issues and Policies: A Public Policy Report 215-32 (edited by Paul Ong, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, 1994).
The Politics of Structure: Decentralization and Empowerment, 12 Windsor Yearbook on Access to Justice 239-63 (1993).
Dependency and Discretion, in Human Services as Complex Organizations 276-97 (edited by Yeheskel Hasenfeld, Sage Publications, 1992).
Discretion: Power, Quiescence, and Trust, in The Uses of Discretion 331-60 (edited by Keith Hawkins, Clarendon, 1992).
The Modern Pauper: The Homeless in Welfare History, in Homelessness: A National Perspective 35-46 (edited by Marjorie J. Robertson and Milton Greenblatt, Plenum, 1992).
Postmodernism, Protest, and the New Social Movements, 26 Law & Society Review 697-731 (1992).
A Reply (to Responses to "Postmodernism, Protest, and the New Social Movements"), 26 Law & Society Review 819-24 (1992).
"Constructing the Political Spectacle": The Interpretation of Entitlements, Legalization and Obligations in Social Welfare History, 56 Brooklyn Law Review 899-974 (1990).
Community Care for the Frail Elderly: A Theory of Empowerment, 50 Ohio State Law Journal 541-60 (1989).
Consensus on Redirection: Which Direction?, 11 Focus 29-34 (Spring 1988).
Dependent People, the State, and the Modern/Postmodern Search for the Dialogical Community, 35 UCLA Law Review 999-1113 (1988).
The Transformation of Aid to Families with Dependent Children: The Family Support Act in Historical Context, 16 NYU Review of Law & Social Change 457-534 (1987-88).
Continuing Relationships and the Administrative Process: Social Welfare, 1985 Wisconsin Law Review 687-706 (1985).
Introduction to Papers from the Conference: Poor Clients Without Lawyers: What Can Be Done (with Louise Trubek), 19 Clearinghouse Review 371-74 (1985).
Discretion in Social Welfare: The Uneasy Position in the Rule of Law, 92 Yale Law Journal 1270-86 (1983). Symposium: The Legacy of the New Deal: Problems and Possibilities in the Administrative State.
Public Interest Law Firms in the United States, in 3Access to Justice: Emerging Issues and Perspectives 421-42 (edited by Mauro Cappelletti and Bryant Garth, Giuffrè, 1979).
United States of America, in Perspectives on Legal Aid: An International Survey 318-45 (edited by Frederick H. Zemans, Greenwood Press, 1979).
Social Reform Groups and the Legal System: Enforcement Problem, in Jahrbuch fur Rechtssoziologie und Rechtstheorie (Westdeutscher Verlag, 1977).
Public Interest Law: Problems and Prospects, in Law and the American Future 99-115 (edited by Murray Schwartz, Prentice-Hall, 1976).
Public Interest Activities of Private Practice Lawyers (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth et al.), 61 American Bar Association Journal 1388-94 (1975).
Federal-State Interests in Welfare Administration, in Studies in Public Welfare, Paper No. 5 (Part 2) 1-35 (GPO, 1973). Issues in Welfare Administration: Intergovernmental Relationships. Joint Economic Committee of Congress.
Field Research Strategies in Urban Legal Studies, 5 Law & Society Review 345-56 (1971).
The Administration of Welfare Budgets: The Views of AFDC Recipients (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth), 5 Journal of Human Resources 208-21 (1970).
Field Research Strategies in Urban Legal Studies, 8 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 401-09 (1970).
How Obnoxious is the "Obnoxious Means Test?" The Views of AFDC Recipients (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth), 1970 Wisconsin Law Review 114-35 (1970).
Reforming Welfare: The Constraints of the Bureaucracy and the Clients (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth), 118 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1167-87 (1970).
Work, Welfare, and the Nixon Reform Proposals (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth), 22 Stanford Law Review 907-42 (1970).
Lessons from the Past, 52 New Generation 10-16 (1970).
A Model Statute Reflecting the Recommendation of the President's Commission on Income Maintenance Programs (with William A. Klein), in The President's Commission on Income Maintenance, Technical Studies 293-316 (GPO, 1969).
The Administration of Social Services and the Structure of Dependency: The Views of Welfare Recipients (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth), 43 Social Service Review 406-20 (1969).
Justice for the Welfare Recipient: Fair Hearings in Public Assistance: The Wisconsin Experience, 43 Social Service Review 12-34 (1969).
Stigma, Privacy, and Other Attitudes of Welfare Recipients (with Ellen J. Hollingsworth), 22 Stanford Law Review 1-19 (1969).
The Legislative Development of Public Assistance (with Aaron E. Goodstein), 1968 Wisconsin Law Review 414-60 (1968).
The Role of Legal Research and Legal Education in Social Welfare, 20 Stanford Law Review 669-83 (1968).
The Coercive Children’s Officer, 314 New Society 3 (1968).
Controlling Official Behavior in Welfare Administration, 54 California Lawyer 479-510 (1966).
The Politics of Planning for Urban Redevelopment: Strategies in the Manipulation of Public Law (with Sheldon J. Plager), Wisconsin Law Review 724-75 (1966).
Privacy in Welfare: Public Assistance and Juvenile Justice (with Margaret K. Rosenheim), 31 Law & Contemporary Problems 377-412 (1966).
The Juvenile Court and the Adversary System: Problems of Function and Form, 1965 Wisconsin Law Review 7-51 (1965).
Background Evidence in Murder Cases, 51 Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology & Political Science 317-27 (1960).
The Defense of Privilege in Defamation Suits Against Government Executive Officials (with William A. Klein), 74 Harvard Law Review 44-79 (1960).


Book Review, The Assault on the Able-Bodied, 15 Reviews in American History 394-401 (1987). Reviewing In the Shadow of the Poor-House: A Social History of America, by Michael B. Katz.