Kelly

Nathan J. Kelly

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Tennessee
Areas of Expertise:
  • Media & Public Opinion
  • Voting
  • Inequality & the Middle Class

About Nathan

Kelly’s research examines the connections between public opinion, partisan politics, public policy, and economic inequality in the United States and around the world. He is interested in how decisions made by elected leaders affect income inequality and how the preferences of citizens respond to changes in inequality.

Briefs

Financial Deregulation, U.S. Party Politics, and Rising Income Inequality

  • Giovanny D. Pleites-Hernandez
  • Eric Keller

How Roadblocks to Voting Make Income Inequality Worse

  • Nathan J. Kelly
  • Christopher Witko

Podcast

Publications

"Partisan Politics, Financial Deregulation, and the New Gilded Age" (with Eric Keller). Political Research Quarterly (2015).

Examines how financial deregulation and the partisan underpinnings of deregulation shaped the path of income inequality in the United States.

The Politics of Income Inequality in the United States (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Analyzes inequality from 1947-2000, showing that inequality has increased more under Republican administrations than Democratic administrations. This effect is driven more by partisan differences regarding equality of opportunity in the marketplace than by differences in redistributional policies.
"Inequality and the Dynamics of Public Opinion: The Self-Reinforcing Link between Economic Inequality and Mass Preferences" (with Peter K. Enns). American Journal of Political Science 54, no. 4 (2010): 855-870.
Analyzes the response of public opinion to rising inequality. Finds that as inequality increases the liberalism of the public’s mood decreases, thereby making policy action to reduce inequality less likely.
"Federalism and American Inequality" (with Christopher Witko). Journal of Politics 74, no. 5 (2012): 414-426.
Analyzes the level of inequality across U.S. states from 1976-2006. Finds that that the liberalism of state governments is associated with lower levels of inequality, particularly since the devolution of more social welfare policymaking power to the states in the mid-1990s.
"The Rise of the Super-rich: Power Resources, Taxes, and the Dynamics of Top Income Shares, 1949-2008" (with Thomas Volscho). American Sociological Review 77, no. 5 (2012): 679-699.
Analyzes income share of the top 1 percent in the United States. Finds that party control of Congress as well as tax and monetary policies have played a central role in the recent rise in inequality.
"Conditional Status Quo Bias and Top Income Shares: How U.S. Political Institutions Benefit the Rich" (with Peter K. Enns, Jana Morgan, Thomas Volscho, and Christopher Witko). Journal of Politics (2014).
Analyzes income share of the top 1 percent in the United States from 1940-2008. Finds that American institutions that make policy change difficult exacerbate inequality, and that status quo bias is more likely to reinforce rising inequality than falling inequality.

In the News

Nathan J. Kelly's research on being chosen as a Carnegie Fellow discussed in Tracy CraneNathan J. Kelly, "Fisher Grad's Work on Income Inequality Yields Major Payday," News-Gazette, May 2, 2017.
"Inequality and Politics: An Interview With Nathan Kelly," Nathan J. Kelly, Interview with Sean McElwee, Demos, July 14, 2014.
"How Republicans and Democrats Enhanced Inequality by Undermining Financial Regulation ," Nathan J. Kelly (with Eric Keller), LSE American Politics & Policy Blog, July 8, 2015.
Nathan J. Kelly quoted on policies that drive or reduce income inequality in Sean McElwee, "The Economy is a Democrat: Why Recent History Shows the Value of a Progressive President" Salon, March 28, 2015.
Nathan J. Kelly's research on class bias and unequal voter turnout reinforces economic inequalities (with Christopher Witko and William Franko) discussed in Sean McElweeNathan J. Kelly, "If Everyone Voted, Progressives Would Win," Al Jazeera America, March 17, 2015.
Nathan J. Kelly's research on policy's influence on elections (with Christopher Witko and William Franko) discussed in Sean McElweeNathan J. Kelly, "For the Effects of Voting, Look to Policy, Not Elections," Demos, March 27, 2015.
Nathan J. Kelly's research on voter turnout (with Christopher Witko and William W. Franko) discussed in Sean McElweeNathan J. Kelly, "The 1% are More Likely to Vote Than the Poor or the Middle Class, and It Matters — A Lot," Vox, October 24, 2014.
"How the Filibuster (and Gridlock) Only Helps the Rich," Nathan J. Kelly, Talking Points Memo, December 6, 2013.
Guest to discuss public opinion and inequality on AM 760’s “David Sirota Show”, Nathan J. Kelly, October 2010.
"How Politics Makes the Market, Altering the Gap between Rich and Poor," Nathan J. Kelly, Huffington Post, February 4, 2011.
Guest to discuss impact of Mitt Romney's "47%" comments on WATE-TV’s “Talk Back” , Nathan J. Kelly, September 2012.
Guest to discuss Mitt Romney’s “47%” comments on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “At Issue with Ben Merens", Nathan J. Kelly, September 19, 2012.
Guest to discuss Election 2012 on WATE-TV’s “Tennessee This Week", Nathan J. Kelly, October 2012.
Guest to discuss income inequality and politics on NewsTalk 98.7's "The Phil Show", Nathan J. Kelly, October 2012.
"There Aren't That Many Takers in America," Nathan J. Kelly, The Monkey Cage, September 27, 2012.