Elizabeth Rigby

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, The George Washington University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Voting
  • Inequality & the Middle Class
  • School Reform
  • Health Care Reform

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About Elizabeth

Rigby’s work examines the politics of inequality and redistribution: identifying conditions shaping the public’s policy preferences, examining the policymaking process that shapes health, education, and welfare policies, and assessing the consequences of these policy choices on the level of inequality in our society. Rigby has worked at the intersection of politics, inequality, and public policy in a range of roles and organizations including: Project Vote Smart, Citizens for Missouri’s Children, the National Center for Children and Families, St. Louis Public Schools, and the U.S. House Page Program.


How States Can Fight Growing Economic Inequality

  • Megan E. Hatch



"Party Politics and Enactment of 'Obamacare': A Policy-Centered Analysis of Minority Party Involvement" (with Jennifer Hayes Clark and Stacey Pelika). Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 39, no. 1 (2014).
Compares the success of Democratic and Republican parties' policy proposals in terms of centrality to the policy agenda and inclusion in the enacted legislation
"Public Values, Health Inequality, and Alternative Notions of a Fair Response" (with Erica Blacksher and Claire Espy). Journal of Health Politics Policy and Law 35 (2010): 889-920.
Explores public priorities for distributing health benefits across groups defined by socio-economic advantage and level of health.
"How the National Prevention Council Can Overcome Key Challenges and Improve Americans’ Health" Health Affairs 30 (2011): 2149-2156.
Describes the political and institutional context surrounding this national effort to promote inter-agency collaboration for health.
"Whose Statehouse Democracy: Policy Responsiveness to Poor vs. Rich Constituents in Poor vs. Rich States" (with Gerald Wright), in Who Gets Represented?, edited by Peter Enns and Chris Wlezien (Russell Sage Foundation, 2011).
Explores policy preferences held by low, middle, and high income Americans, as well as the degree to which state policy is associated with each group’s preferences.
"Does Electoral Reform Increase (or Decrease) Political Equality?" (with Melanie Springer). Political Research Quarterly 64 (2011): 420-434.
Examines income gap in voting before and after states change their voting rules, such as early voting or election day registration.

In the News

Elizabeth Rigby quoted in Dylan Matthews, "Studies: Democratic Politicians Represent Middle-Class Voters. GOP Politicians Don’t." Vox, April 2, 2018.
Elizabeth Rigby's research on Medicaid expansion discussed in Sean McElweeElizabeth Rigby, "The Scary Lessons of Matt Bevin: What We Can Learn about American Politics from the Right Wing’s Destructive Anti-Medicaid Crusade," Salon, November 7, 2015.
Elizabeth Rigby quoted on the role inequality will play in the 2016 presidential election in Jessica Leber, "What the 2016 Presidential Candidates Talk about When They Talk about Inequality" Fast Company Co.Exist, September 8, 2015.
Elizabeth Rigby quoted on how states can fight rising inequality in Sean McElwee, "The Economy is a Democrat: Why Recent History Shows the Value of a Progressive President" Salon, March 28, 2015.
"States Can Fight Growing Economic Inequality through Lowering Taxes on the Poor, and Stricter Labor Market Policies," Elizabeth Rigby (with Megan E. Hatch), London School of Economics Blog, January 27, 2015.
"Not All Election Reforms Promote Equality," Elizabeth Rigby, Boston Globe, March 4, 2014.
"On This of All MLK Days, Commit to Service Projects," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, January 19, 2009.
"Progressive Agenda Tip #1: Pay Your Taxes," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, February 3, 2009.
"Why Majority Support Does Not Guarantee Health Reform (and Why This isn’t All Bad)," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, October 21, 2009.
"School Lunch Programs Help Reverse Childhood Obesity," Elizabeth Rigby (with Rachel Kimbro), The Houston Chronicle, March 5, 2010.
"Note to the Very Rich: Very Large Taxes = Very Large Benefits," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, February 2, 2011.