this paper shows that religion is a basic principle that underlies modern poverty policy. however, it has played out in very different ways in societies according to the relative predominance of catholic, lutheran, and calvinist heritages. though religion is but one explanation for why we deal with the poor as we do today, systematically accounting for denominational differences in poor relief traditions can help to answer a series of otherwise perplexing cross-national differences in poverty policy and enrich existing explanations of the welfare state.
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