Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Andrew Sinclair

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This thesis extensively analyzes the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, commonly known as Social Security, exploring its historical evolution, theoretical underpinnings, and policy reforms in response to demographic and fiscal challenges. By tracing the origins of Social Security in the United States from the Great Depression era to its current configuration, this study highlights the program’s crucial role in American social policy and its adaptation to changing societal needs. The research employs a robust theoretical framework incorporating welfare theory and intergenerational equity to assess the sustainability of the OASDI program amidst increasing demographic pressures and fiscal demands. Utilizing a combination of historical data analysis, literature review, and policy evaluation, this thesis identifies the structural and financial vulnerabilities of the OASDI program and argues for comprehensive legislative reforms. Key policy recommendations include benefits structure adjustments, payroll tax reforms, and potential privatization options to enhance the program’s solvency and equity. The analysis culminates in a cost-benefit evaluation of these policy solutions, weighing their economic impacts and social fairness to ensure the OASDI program’s viability for future generations. Through this scholarly inquiry, the thesis contributes to the ongoing public policy debate regarding Social Security, advocating for a balanced approach that ensures both the financial sustainability of the program and the economic welfare of its beneficiaries. The recommendations provided aim to assist policymakers in navigating the complex interplay between demographic trends and fiscal constraints, fostering a resilient social security system that aligns with contemporary and future socio-economic dynamics.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.