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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article compares the scholarly research and policy approaches to poverty and social exclusion in the United States and western Europe. It explains that the United States does not have the wide range of universal entitlement programs present in Europe which cushion those at the bottom from the worst deprivations, and that Europe lacks the “culture of poverty” perspective which is so powerful in the United States, and which has assigned responsibility for addressing poverty to individuals or to voluntary institutions in civil society. The article suggests that the contested nature of the concept of social exclusion has often obscured the hard political choices which need to be made to reduce poverty.

Keywords: poverty, social exclusion, United States, western Europe, entitlement programs, culture of poverty, civil society

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