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Political economy of austerity

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 Éric Bélanger. 2022. "Deficit or Austerity Bias? The Changing Nature of Canadians' Opinion of Fiscal Policies." Canadian journal of Political Science

Jacques, Olivier and Lukas Haffert. 2021. “Paying the Price of Austerity? Fiscal Consolidations Reduce Government Approval.” 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

Working paper

Jacques, Olivier. “Welfare state regimes and social policy resilience to austerity.” R&R at Journal of European Public Policy

Governing for the long-term

Under which conditions do governments implement policies that are beneficial in the long-term? This project highlights the effect of electoral competition, political institutions, and austerity to explain why governments adopt a long-term rather than short-term perspective. It focuses mostly on preventive health care as a long-term investment. 




Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. 2022. "The politics of public health investments." Social Science & Medicine

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


Jacques, Olivier, Emmanuelle Arpin, Mehdi Ammi et Alain Noël. Forthcoming. “The Political and fiscal determinants of public health and curative care expenditures : Evidence from the Canadian Provinces, 1980-2018.” Canadian Journal of Public Health

Working paper

Cronert, Axel, Benjamin Ferland and Olivier Jacques. "Who cares for the future? Politicians perception of long-term policy-making" 

Welfare states, inequality and population health

This project revisits classical questions in 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.



Jacques, Olivier and Alain Noël. 2022. “Welfare State Decommodification and Population Health.” Plos One.​

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

Public opinion on fiscal policies

This research agenda concerns the relationship between fiscal policies and public opinion in several different projects. I am particularly interested in how people view budget deficits and to understand the determinants of willingness to pay taxes. 


Jacques, Olivier. Forthcoming. "Explaining willingness to pay: the role of income, education and ideology." Journal of European Social Policy.

Borwein, Sophie, Olivier Jacques, Daniel Béland and André Lecours. Forthcoming. “National standards or subnational autonomy : the politics of fiscal federalism in Canada.” Territory, Politics and Governance.

Jacques, Olivier, Daniel Béland and André Lecours. 2022. "Fiscal Federalism, Social Identity and Place-Based Resentment." Regional Studies.

Working papers

Jacques, Olivier and David Weisstanner. "Economic Decline and Tax Policy Preferences". Working paper available here.

Goubin, Silke, Olivier Jacques, Staffan Kumlin and David Weisstanner. "Something for Nothing in Scandinavia?" 

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

Canadian political economy

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


Béland, Daniel, Dinan, Shannon, Jacques, Olivier et Patrick Marier. Forthcoming. “The « Right » and the Welfare State: The Case of the Coalition Avenir Québec Government.” Canadian Journal of Political Science


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, 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

Working paper

Jacques, Olivier. “Unequal permanent austerity and the distribution of power in the Canadian federation.”

Jacques, Olivier. “Régler le déséquilibre fiscal? Les contraintes politiques et institutionnelles à deux solutions idéales."

  • Mention spéciale du Jury, concours de la fondation Baxter

Chassé, Philippe, Olivier Jacques and Colin Scott. "Between decentralization and asymmetry: explaining preferences about the division of power in Canada."

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