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Elaine Denny

Assistant Professor (Coming July 2018)
  • Ph.D., 2017 – UC San Diego; political science and international affairs
  • M.A., 2013 – UC San Diego; political science
  • M.P.P., 2009 -- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; human rights and development
  • B.A., 2004 – Williams College; chemistry
Research Interests: 

Poverty and anxiety both affect decision-making through well-established cognitive mechanisms. I use these insights from behavioral economics and psychology to improve our understanding of when and why people do (or do not) take political action. Specifically, why do poor people often participate in politics at lower rates than wealthier counterparts, even when they stand to benefit more from political change? I show that the experience of financial stress alters how people think about decisions, leading to divergences in political behavior, with downstream representational consequences. Related research interests include social movements, political violence, human rights, and the spread of social norms. I use research methods including lab, survey, and field experiments; geospatial analysis; and statistical modeling.

Graduate Groups: 
Political Science