Services for the Mentally Handicapped: An Overview Based in Economics
Mayer, Fred, Jr.
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The study of services for the mentally handicapped from an economic perspective requires some consideration of tangent issues. In attempting to provide a wide scope, the paper included an amount of non-economic material to yield an understanding of the changes services have undergone, and are undergoing, within the context of a dynamic political and historical backdrop. Just as policymakers and families of the mentally handicapped must understand each others' respective motivations and arguments, the outsider seeking knowledge of the system, whether from a political, historical, economic or social standpoint, must not examine abstractly. From this precipitous vantage point, we can see that all activity categories for the mentally handicapped have blossomed, flourished and are now showing signs of withering. Presently, in an era of massive debt, funding directed towards the mentally handicapped will unlikely rebound. This necessitates efficient use of what limited funds are available. Cost-benefit analysis can be used to provide relevant general information as to appropriate policy direction, and a mechanism for the provision of incentives for the efficient use of funds would be beneficial.