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Taylor & Francis

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Policy and Society

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Original Item ID

DOI: 10.1093/polsoc/puac002


Poor people proved especially vulnerable to economic disruption during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which highlighted the importance of poverty reduction as a policy concern. In this article, we explore the politics of poverty reduction during the COVID-19 crisis in Canada and the United States, two liberal welfare-state regimes where poverty reduction is a key policy issue. We show that, since the beginning of the pandemic, policies likely to reduce poverty significantly have been adopted in both Canada and the United States. Yet, this poverty reduction logic has emerged in different ways in the two countries—with the United States embracing more significant departures from its policy status quo. This situation leads us to ask the following question: in each country, what are the political conditions under which public policies susceptible of reducing poverty are enacted? To answer this question, we study the politics of poverty reduction both before and during the pandemic, as we suggest that grasping the evolution of partisan and electoral patterns over time is necessary to explain what happened during the pandemic, whose impact is closely related to how it interacts with such patterns. Our analysis suggests the need to consider more carefully the impact of both crises and partisanship on social policy, including poverty reduction.


Published version. Policy and Society, Vol. 41, No. 2 (March 2022): 291-305. DOI. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. Used with permission.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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