My PhD thesis focused on the political economy of fiscal austerity in OECD countries and Canadian provinces. Most research suggests that governments can impose cutbacks without seeing their popularity decrease, and that by implementing austerity, governments can reorient their expenditures towards more productive investments.

I argue that this view is mistaken and show that austerity reduces governments’ popularity and encourages them to prioritize public policies that are profitable in the short term, to the detriment of longer-term investments.


Jacques, Olivier and Lukas Haffert. 2021. “Paying the Price of Austerity? Shedding a New Light on an Old Question.” European Political Science Review. 13(2): 189-207. 

Jacques, Olivier. 2021. “Austerity and the path of least resistance : how fiscal consolidations crowd out long term investments.” Journal of European Public Policy. 28(4): 551-570.

Jacques, Olivier. 2020."Partisan priorities under fiscal constraints in Canadian provinces." Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques



Under which conditions do governments implement policies that are beneficial in the long-term? This project builds on a theoretical perspective highlighting the effect of electoral competition, political institutions, and austerity to explain why governments adopt a long-term rather than short-term perspective.

It focuses on several policy fields ranging from education, infrastructure and environmental protection to preventive health care.


Jacques, Olivier. 2021. “The Electoral Politics of Long-term Investments.” ForthcomingParty Politics

Working paper

Ammi, Mehdi, Emmanuelle Arpin, Olivier Jacques and Alain Noël. "The partisan and fiscal determinants of public health spending in Canadian provinces."



This project revisits classical questions in the comparative welfare state research: does the paradox of redistribution, stating that universalism entails more redistribution and poverty reduction than targeting (Korpi and Palme 1998), still holds in the 21st century. 

How do we combine the political legitimacy and institutional solidity of a universal welfare state with the redistributive efficiency of targeted programmes?

Furthermore, the project investigates the effect of social policies and income inequality on population health.

This is a collaborative project with Alain Noël.


Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. 2021. "Targeting Within Universalism." Journal of European Social Policy. 31(1): 15-29.

Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. 2018. "The case for welfare state universalism, or the lasting relevance of the paradox of redistribution" Journal of European Social Policy. 28(1): 70-85

Working paper

Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. “Decommodification and Health: How the Welfare State and the Labor Market Influence Population Health.” Under review



This research agenda concerns the relationship between fiscal policies and public opinion in several different projects.

In collaboration with Chris Abbott, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, Kyle Hanniman and Scott Matthews, I have fielded a survey experiment assessing whether Canadians and Americans prefer deficit-financed post-pandemic recovery to fiscal austerity. We also evaluate if the growing tendency of central banks to comment on government fiscal policy affects voters’ policy preferences. 

I am writing a book chapter and an article with Éric Bélanger (McGill) showing that the effect of the economy and of fiscal policy on governments' popularity changes overtime in Canada.

Also, I am currently working on a project with Daniel Béland (McGill) and André Lecours (Ottawa) on the politics of equalization in Canada. We show that identity and perceptions about Quebec are the main determinants of preference for equalization. 

Finally, I am working on a paper explaining citizens' willingness to pay taxes in OECD countries. It shows that among left wing individuals, those with higher income and education tend to be more willing to pay taxes than those with lower levels of education and income. 

Working papers

Éric Bélanger and Olivier Jacques. “Federal Government Approval in Canada:Economics, Politics, and Fiscal Policy in Changing Times.” R&R at the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Jacques, Olivier, Daniel Béland and André Lecours. “When identities Matter More Than Interests: Explaining Support for Equalization in Canada.” R&R at Regional Studies

Jacques, Olivier. “Political Coalitions and Willingness to Pay Taxes.” Under review

Abbott, Chris, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, Kyle Hanniman, Olivier Jacques and Scott Matthews “Stimulus or Austerity? How Central Banks Can Change Citizen’s Preferences.”



I made several contributions to the study of Canadian politics by bringing in comparative political economy perspective to understand policy choices in the country.

I show that Québec’s distinct party system is one of the main reasons why it is the only province with a universal childcare system in a country that is otherwise a laggard in child care policy development.

I confirm that political discretion exists in project allocation in Canada: districts represented by a government MP receive more infrastructure funding than opposition districts.

I explain why levels of taxes in Canada are relatively low, but quite progressive from a comparative perspective. 

I also studied the determinants of the share of income allocated to the top 1% in Québec. 


Jacques, Olivier and Benjamin Ferland. 2021. “Political discretion in infrastructure spending in Canada”. Canadian Journal of Political science. 54(1): 96-117.

Jacques, Olivier. 2020. “Funding the state: taxation in Canada from a comparative politics perspective.” In E. Heaman et D. Tough (eds.) Who Pays for Canada, Taxation and Fairness. McGill Queen’s University Press. 58-89

Arsenault, Gabriel and Olivier Jacques. 2020. “Les services de garde en Atlantique : entre contraintes fiscales et innovations.” In D. Pépin-Filion and M. Landry (eds). L’État de l’Acadie. Canadian Institute For Research On Linguistic Minorities.

Arsenault, Gabriel, Olivier Jacques and Antonia Maioni. 2018. “Services de garde subventionnés: pourquoi le Québec continue-t-il de faire cavalier seul.” Institute for Research in Public Policy study. Study no 67.

Zorn, Nicolas, and Olivier Jacques. 2017. “Under the Rising Wave. How Disaggregated Revenue Sources Can Tell Another Story for Québec’s Top Income Share.” Journal of Income Distribution. 25 (1). 1-25