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Ryan LaRochelle

Senior Lecturer at the Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service, University of Maine
Chapter Member: Maine SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Ryan

LaRochelle's research focuses on American political development, social policy, and the welfare state. His current project explores the political and policymaking legacies of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, placing the domestic reform efforts of the 1960s in the broad arc of postwar American political development.

In the News

Opinion: "Stop Trying to Understand Trump Voters as if They Are Aliens," Ryan LaRochelle (with Luisa S. Deprez), The Atlantic, March 12, 2024.
Opinion: "Fears Grow Over Future of Social Infrastructure in a Second Trump Term," Ryan LaRochelle (with Luisa S. Deprez), Common Dreams, March 11, 2024.
Opinion: "Donald Trump’s Assault on the Social Safety Net," Ryan LaRochelle (with Luisa S. Deprez), Washington Monthly, February 7, 2020.
Opinion: "Getting By With Less and Less," Ryan LaRochelle (with Suzanne Mettler), Central Maine Today Media , January 21, 2020.
Opinion: "Scholars Strategy Network: Getting by with Less and Less," Ryan LaRochelle, Central Maine, January 21, 2020.
Opinion: "The Consequences of a Shredded Social Safety Net," Ryan LaRochelle, Bangor Daily News, February 12, 2019.


"Block Granting and the Retrenchment of the American Welfare State," American Political Science Association, July 1, 2018.

Examines the rise of block-granting as a tool of social policy retrenchment since the 1980s. Shows how several aspects of block grants' designs leave them vulnerable to deferred policy maintenance, which leads to gradual erosion. Argues that block grant design limits the potential for self-reinforcing or positive feedbacks, thus making these programs vulnerable to further retrenchment. Shows how the decentralized nature of block grants works to increase inequality across the states.

"Reassessing the History of the Community Action Program, 1963-1967" Journal of Policy History 31, no. 1 (January 2019): 126-164.

Reassessed the early history of the Community Action Program. Draws on an original dataset of 98 community action agencies. Argues that the program was a bold experiment in administrative reform that launched a range of diverse anti-poverty initiatives that were tailored to local circumstance and community needs.