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Department of Political Science


Nathan J. Kelly

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

University of Tennessee

1001 McClung Tower

Knoxville, TN 37996-0410


Phone: 865-974-7186

Fax: 865-974-7037

Office Location: 810 McClung Tower



My primary research agenda is driven by an interest in social, political, and economic inequality. My first book (Cambridge University Press, 2009) focuses on how partisan conflict, public opinion, and policy decisions have shaped the path of economic inequality since World War II. My second book project (America's Inequality Trap, under contract at University of Chicago Press) explores how economic and political inequality reinforce one another, making it very difficult to reverse the recent trend toward a larger income gap between rich and poor. I have also authored a series of journal articles on this topic and have several article-length manuscripts in preparation. I am in the early stages of a collaborative project seeking to develop a substantial new data set on rhetoric in the U.S. congress with the goal of assessing how inequality shapes political rhethoric and public opinion in the United States. My work is also moving beyond the United States context. I have authored a series of articles examining inequality, public opinion, and representation cross-nationally. This portion of my research agenda focuses on how citizens respond to "Exclusionary Democracy," in which certain social segments face overlapping political and economic disadvantage.