My research has been animated by an ongoing interest in the politics of social solidarity, as represented by public support for redistributive programs that help the most vulnerable in society. I have analyzed the impact of a variety of factors that matter for social policy. My first book, Poverty, Politics and Policy, examined the politics of poverty in Britain, with particular attention to the role of ideational change. In The Welfare State and Canadian Federalism, I turned my attention to the design of political institutions, analyzing the potential impact of constitutional change on the redistributive role of the Canadian state. With colleagues, I also explored the tension between globalization and redistribution in Degrees of Freedom: Canada and the United States in a Changing World, as well as the impact of growing inequality in Inequality and the Fading of Redistributive Politics.
My primary focus in recent years has been on multiculturalism and social solidarity. Much of this work challenges the common assertion that the growth of ethnoracial diversity inevitably weakens social solidarity, weakening the public’s support for programs that extend benefits to newcomers and minorities who are not seen as part of 'us'. Two early co-edited contributions are Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies and then Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada. More recently, Will Kymlicka and I focus on the potential sources of support for an inclusive solidarity in The Strains of Commitment: The Political Sources of Solidarity in Diverse Societies. With Allison Harell, we are pursuing this theme in research on perceptions of membership, belonging and solidarity.
In addition, I co-direct (with Will Kymlicka) the Multiculturalism Policy Index project, which monitors the evolution of multiculturalism policies across 21 Western democracies.