This conference is open to the public. As a first step towards gaining a better understanding of the role of consumer subsidies in the global welfare state, this conference will bring together political scientists and sociologists who specialize in consumer subsidy programs and welfare in each of the regions where these programs have been important. The goal will be to formulate a shared comparative framework. By asking the participants to review the literature on this topic for each region, we seek to identify the most important variation in subsidy policies and their welfare outcomes, as well as to identify key country cases. We will primarily focus on food subsidy programs, since they have diffused more widely and have proven to be especially durable.