This article suggests that the nature of the neoliberal state needs to be more fully explored. Our research on two regional welfare policies in Canada over the past three decades reveals that neoliberal regional states can differ quite remarkably in how they include or exclude their poorer citizens from receiving welfare. By exploring the dramatic changes to welfare in British Columbia and Ontario, we argue that the former follows a “purer” neoliberal model of reduced state involvement and fewer state actors, while the latter increases state expenditure and hires new staff to micromanage the poor. We attempt to explain these differences with attention to historical and contemporary political and religious cultures that deeply affect class, gender, and race relations.

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