Keith Gunnar Bentele

Associate Research Professor, Southwest Institute for Research on Women, University of Arizona
Chapter Member: Boston SSN

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About Keith

Bentele is a sociologist whose research focuses on public policy and inequality. Much of his work examines the factors shaping policy outcomes in US state legislatures, with particular attention to the influences of social movements and political ideology. In addition, Bentele has examined the drivers of rising earnings inequality, poverty, and variation in welfare state generosity across states. Bentele has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations which providing support for at-risk youth and victims of homicide in the Boston area.

In the News

Quoted by Wes Killingbeck in "Why NC Lawmakers Caved on Voter ID," News and Observer, June 23, 2015.
Research discussed by Sean McElwee, in "Racism is Destroying the Right to Vote," Demos, May 18, 2015.
Quoted by Sean McElwee in "Voter Supression Isn't Over," Huffington Post, May 1, 2015.
Quoted by Sean McElwee in "Our Election System’s Anti-Minority Bias is Even Worse than You Think," Salon, March 1, 2015.
Quoted by in "Yup, Voter ID Laws Have Nothing to Do with Fraud," The Daily Beast, January 2, 2014.
Research discussed by "2013 A Low Point for Voting Rights," Melissa Harris-Perry, December 28, 2013.
Research discussed by "Analyzing the Pattern of Voting Access," Up With Steve Kornacki, December 22, 2013.
Quoted by in "Researchers Find Factors Tied to Voting Restriction Bills are 'Basically All Racial'," Talking Points Memo, December 20, 2013.
Opinion: "States with Higher Black Turnout are More Likely to Restrict Voting," Keith Gunnar Bentele (with Erin O'Brien), The Monkey Cage, December 17, 2013.


"Breaking Down the Wall Between Church and State: State Adoption of Religious Inclusion Legislation, 1995-2009" (with Rebecca Sager, Gary Adler Jr., and Sarah A. Soule). Journal of Church and State 56, no. 3 (2014): 1-31.
Examines several different laws that challenge recent jurisprudence or restructure state interactions with religious organizations.
"Jim Crow 2.0?: Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies" (with Erin O’Brien). Perspectives on Politics 11, no. 4 (2013).
Examines the recent proposal and passage of state-level policies that restrict voter access, and finds that the patterns of legislative activity are consistent with a scenario in which these developments are largely driven by a partisan effort to demobilize minority voters and African Americans.
"Evaluating the Performance of the U.S. Social Safety Net in the Great Recession," Center for Social Policy Publications, March 31, 2012.
Provides an assessment of the performance of both individual safety net programs and the cumulative impact of all safety net benefits and tax credits on household incomes, and incomes for various types of households, in the early years during and following the 2007-09 recession.
"Ending Access as We Know It: State Welfare Benefit Coverage in the TANF Era" (with Lisa Thiebaud Nicoli). Social Service Review 86 (2012): 223-268.
Examines the causes of declining welfare benefit coverage since the 1996 reform and finds that by the late 2000s, the policy choices that embody welfare reform have produced both historically low levels of welfare coverage nationally and unprecedented diversity in benefit accessibility across states.