Co-Director of the Research Triangle SSN Regional Network; Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Expertise & Civic Involvements
Carnes’s research focuses on Congress, state and local legislatures, with a special focus on representation and political accountability, and the influence of legislators’ backgrounds on economic policy and inequalities of social class.
"Does the Numerical Underrepresentation of the Working Class in Congress Matter?" Legislative Studies Quarterly 37, no. 1 (2012). Documents that members of Congress from different classes vote differently on economic issues in ways that mirror class-based differences in mass opinion. The shortage of lawmakers from the working class biases economic policy voting in Congress in favor of the interests of the upper class.
"By the Upper Class, for the Upper Class? Representational Inequality and Economic Policymaking in the United States," Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, September, 2011. Shows that the shortage of people from the working class in public office has serious consequences. Like ordinary Americans, legislators from different classes tend to think, vote, and advocate differently on economic issues. In the aggregate, tax policies are more regressive, business regulations are more lax, redistributive policies are less generous, and protections for workers are leaner than they would be if the working class held its fair share of political offices.
- "A Tax-Reform Plan that Rewards the Wealthy and Stalls the State," The Raleigh News Observer, January 24, 2013.
- "Which Millionaire are You Voting For?," New York Times, October 13, 2012.
- Nicholas Carnes's cited in "The One Percenters in Congress," CNN Money, May 8, 2012.
- Nicholas Carnes's research on the effect of inequalities in the class composition of legislatures discussed in , "Growing Wealth Widens Distance between Lawmakers and Constituents," Washington Post, December 26, 2011.
- Nicholas Carnes's research on class and politics discussed in , "What a Politician’s Former Job Can Tell You," The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, September 16, 2011.
- Nicholas Carnes's research on the effects of inequalities in the class composition of legislatures discussed in , "Social Status and How the Elected Vote," New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, September 12, 2011.
- Nicholas Carnes's research on the increasing wealth of members of Congress discussed in , "Politically Unequal," News21, August 12, 2011.
Talks and Briefings
- "Why Aren’t Politicians More Concerned about Income Inequality?," Duke Law Democrats, November 9, 2011.