Policy Styles and Degenerative Politics: Poverty Policy Designs in Newfoundland and Quebec


Matthieu Mondou is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3.
Éric Montpetit is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal, Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, 3150, rue Jean-Brillant, bureau-4012, Montréal, Québec H3T 1N8.


This article examines the proposal suggesting that policy designs are consistent with the social construction of target groups. Associated with policy design theory, the proposal pessimistically suggests that underprivileged citizens will be targeted with policies that do little to help them, creating a vicious circle of degenerative politics. This article argues that the prevalence of degenerative politics depends on policy styles. Significant where the adversarial style prevails, degenerative politics is less common in consensual systems. This proposal is examined through a systematic content analysis of action plans to reduce poverty in Newfoundland and Quebec.