Nicholas Carnes

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Co-Director of the Research Triangle SSN Regional Network; Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

201 Science Drive, SB 137
Box 90245
Durham, North Carolina 27708
(919) 613-7330

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.

SSN Briefs

Key Publications

  • "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.

Media Contributions

Talks and Briefings