Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsGilens’ current research focuses on inequality and public policy. In Affluence & Influence and related journal articles, he explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how the disparity in government responsiveness to more and less well-off Americans has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections. A second major area of Gilens’ work concerns race and public attitudes toward poverty and inequality. In this research, he explores the role of the news media in shaping how the public perceives of poverty and welfare.
Examines the disproportionate influence of affluent Americans over government policy, showing that the ability of the well-off to influence political decision-making has grown over time, but that impending elections and strong partisan competition in Congress can help produce policies that are more broadly responsive to the public as a whole.