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Rich Democracies, Poor PeopleHow Politics Explain Poverty$
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David Brady

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385878.001.0001

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The Politics of Poverty

The Politics of Poverty

(p.94) 5 The Politics of Poverty
Rich Democracies, Poor People

David Brady (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits the long‐standing debate about Leftist politics and poverty. It begins by outlining the contributions and limitations of power resources theory, a key starting point for the study of politics and poverty. Next, the chapter articulates how institutionalized power relations theory moves beyond power resources theory. This chapter then provides an empirical evaluation of the causal hypotheses derived from institutionalized power relations theory with six different measures of Leftist politics. Ultimately, the aim is to both theoretically and empirically advance the understanding of the economic consequences of politics and the political causes of poverty. This chapter builds on Chapter 4 in developing the institutionalized power relations theory. Broadly, the analyses demonstrate that Leftist politics do influence poverty. Proportional representation electoral systems appear to be the most consequential measure of Leftist politics. The effects are mostly channeled through the welfare state and only partly combine with the welfare state. Leftist politics fundamentally influence a society's amount of poverty, but the welfare state remains the proximate and direct influence on poverty.

Keywords:   leftist politics, power resources, institutions, interests and ideologies, social democracy

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