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Ling Zhu

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Houston

About Ling

Zhu's research focuses on democracy and inequality by focusing on the institutional and policy determinants of inequality. Taking a policy-focused approach, Zhu investigates the politics of welfare generosity, the institutional root of public preferences on the role of government in social protection, the political causes of health & health care inequality, and the politics of health care reform.

In the News

Opinion: "Clinton Shifts Stance on Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants," Ling Zhu, Free Press, October 15, 2015.
Opinion: "How Immigration Makes Income Inequality Worse in the U.S.," Ling Zhu (with Ping Xu and James C. Garand), LSE American Politics & Policy Blog, October 14, 2015.
Opinion: "Inequality in Health Care Persists at the State Level, Especially in Red States with Diverse Populations," Ling Zhu, London School of Economics U.S. Politics and Policy Blog, May 7, 2015.
Opinion: "Medicaid Obstruction is Still Hurting America - Especially Texas," Ling Zhu (with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee), Talking Points Memo Café, July 11, 2014.
Research discussed by Michael Tomasky, in "Texas: Where Crazy Gets Elected," The Daily Beast, February 26, 2014.
Opinion: "Market Competition May Not Reduce Costs or Lead to Greater Efficiency in Hospitals," Ling Zhu (with Morgen Johansen), London School of Economics Blog, January 30, 2014.


"Rights without Access" State Policy & Politics Quarterly 15, no. 2 (2015): 239-262.

Explores how partisanship in government affects subnational-level inequality in health care coverage in the context of racial diversity.

"When Social Capital Becomes Political Capital Understanding the Social Contexts of Minority Candidates’ Electoral Success" (with Kenicia Wright). The Journal of Race Ethnicity and Politics 6, no. 2 (2020): 1-29.

Asks: “What factors promote the electoral success of minority candidates in state legislatures?” Shifts focus to the determinants of the electoral success of minorities in state legislatures and our findings suggest the stock of social capital owned by racial minorities exclusively benefits the electoral success of minority candidates. 

"Imported Inequality? Immigration and Income Inequality in the American States" (with Ping Xu and James C. Garand). State Politics & Policy Quarterly (2015).
Explores the effects of immigration on income inequality. Argues that the positive relationship between immigration and state income inequality is driven primarily by low-skill immigrants (rather than high-skill immigrants), and we provide some evidence that high-skill immigrants lower income inequality for some segments of the income distribution.
"Why Do Americans Dislike Publicly Funded Health Care? Examining the Intersection of Race and Gender in the Ideological Context" (with Kenicia Wright). Politics, Groups, and Identities (2015).
Suggests that neither race nor gender independently explains health care attitudes, but that ideology with the intersection between race and gender offers a more comprehensive account of how sub-population groups differ in their attitudes toward the role of government in health care.
"School-Based Obesity Policy, Social Capital, and Gender Differences in Weight Control Behaviors" (with Breanca Thomas). American Journal of Public Health 103, no. 6 (2013): 1067-1073.
Examines how social capital and school-based obesity policy interactively affect gender differences in children’s weight-control behaviors.
"Market Competition, Political Constraints, and Managerial Practice in Public, Nonprofit and Private American Hospitals" (with Morgen Johansen). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (2013).
Examines how market competition and political constraints are associated with the cross-sector difference in health management.
"Panel Data Analysis in Public Administration: Substantive and Statistical Considerations" Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 23, no. 2 (2013): 395-428.
Provides a synopsis of panel data methods in public administration and public policy.
"Immigration, Globalization, and Unemployment Benefits in Developed EU States" (with Christine Lipsmeyer). American Journal of Political Science 55, no. 3 (2011): 647-664.
Examines the impact of immigration and labor market integration on the generosity of unemployment benefits in developed EU member states.