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This seminar introduces students to theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the politics of poverty and inequality, the relationship between state and market structures, and the politics of social policy reform. Seminar readings highlight some of the seminal work on the politics and policies of the welfare state. They also bring historical and international perspectives to bear on contemporary policy problems in the U.S. Each year, the seminar will focus on selected problems or policies relevant to poverty and inequality. For example, discussion may take up questions concerning the role of social entitlements, conditioning benefits on work, inclusion of marginalized populations, and/or strategies for advancing social reform and administrative justice.