Anna Kopec

Assistant Professor - School of Public Policy and Administration

Carleton University

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I am an Assistant Professor in Public Policy and Inequality at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. My research centres around questions of inequality, democratic participation, and poverty. I teach courses in comparative public policy, governance, and qualitative research methods.Originally from Edmonton, Alberta I moved to Ontario to pursue graduate school. I earned a PhD in Political Science at the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science and International Development at the University of Guelph.


How do everyday interactions with the welfare state and its many appendages affect political participation?

My broader research agenda examines how marginalized communities participate to bring about policy change. I consider how policies influence participation, including how and where different populations participate.How policy influences inequality, political agency, and research guides my research agenda. As a qualitative researcher I consider not only the utility of lived experience for policy and equality, but also for research. How we as researchers work with marginalized communities is vital to the relationships we build and the future of research centred around reciprocity and reflexivity.My current book project outlines the results of my dissertation research where I asked how the policies individuals experiencing homelessness access influence their political participation. Through 118 interviews with individuals experiencing homelessness, service providers and policymakers in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada, I observed several nuances in the relationship between policy and participation. Through the case of homelessness - an often understudied population in existing policy feedback and political science literature - I found that policy characteristics vary in their effects on inclusion and they interact with one another and those of other policies to influence participation. This not only includes if individuals participate but also how and where they do so. This project has three main contributions to policy feedback theory: it considers how policy design elements interact with one another and those of other policies, the project teases out various interpretive and resource effects as a result, and the project expands the investigation of political participation to include other expressions of political agency specific to a marginalized population and often understudied target population.

Beyond the book project, my other research projects explore similar areas of homelessness, democracy, urban governance, and public policy

  • In a recently accepted paper in the Journal of Public Policy I share the findings from a media analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic homelessness responses in three Canadian cities. Utilizing the critical juncture and path dependence literature, I characterize the various responses taken during the pandemic as mechanisms of change or path dependence. The paper is available open access.

  • In a recently accepted paper in the American Review of Canadian Studies Alison Smith (University of Toronto) examine how and from what perspective homelessness has been studied in Canada. We share results from a systematic literature review with an analysis of the authors and their disciplines, the research questions, and the recommendations commonly found in existing homelessness research and argue for more research from a political science perspective. The paper is available open access.

  • Kristen Pue and I recently published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research that explores the role of nonprofit homeless shelters in democracy promotion. We share results from a survey with Canadian shelters, along with ideal types we created, to analyze the role of nonprofit shelters in three areas of democracy promotion: support for political participation, internal democratic governance, and representative voice.

  • My other research, including pieces published in Local and State Government Review and the Canadian Journal of Urban Research can be found in my CV.


I teach courses in public policy, inequality, and qualitative methods at the School of Public Policy and Administration at the undergraduate and graduate levels.In 2022-2023, I am teaching
• PAPM 3000 – Policy Research
• PADM 5120 – Modern Challenges to Governance
• PADM 5125 – Qualitative Methods for Public Policy




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