Nicholas W. Carnes

Nicholas W. Carnes

Creed C. Black Associate Professor

Internal Office Address: 
227 Sanford Building, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708-0245

Nick Carnes joined the faculty at the Sanford School in July 2011. He is a political scientist whose research focuses on American politics, economic and social class inequality, political representation, legislative decision making, and urban politics. Carnes is currently working on a book that examines how the shortage of people from working-class backgrounds in American legislatures skews the policymaking process towards outcomes that are more in line with the upper class's economic interests. He is also beginning a large-scale investigation of the factors that discourage working-class citizens from holding political office and the programs that could help to address longstanding inequalities in the class composition of American policymaking institutions. (On leave, fall 2015)


  • Ph.D., Princeton University 2011
  • M.A., Princeton University 2008
  • A.B., University of Tulsa 2006

Carnes, N. “Who votes for inequality?.” Congress and Policy Making in the 21st Century, 2016, pp. 106–34. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9781316411117.005. Full Text

Hansen, E. R., et al. “What Happens When Insurers Make Insurance Laws? State Legislative Agendas and the Occupational Makeup of Government.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 2, June 2019, pp. 155–79. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1532440018813013. Full Text

Broockman, D. E., et al. “Why Local Party Leaders Don ' t Support Nominating Centrists.” British Journal of Political Science, Jan. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0007123419000309. Full Text

Carnes, Nicholas, and John Holbein. “Do public officials exhibit social class biases when they handle casework? Evidence from multiple correspondence experiments..” Plos One, vol. 14, no. 3, Jan. 2019. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0214244. Full Text

Carnes, N. “Adam Smith would be spinning in His Grave: Government by the rich in the United States.” Forum (Germany), vol. 15, no. 1, Apr. 2017, pp. 151–65. Scopus, doi:10.1515/for-2017-0009. Full Text

Carnes, N., and N. Lupu. “Do voters dislike working-class candidates? Voter biases and the descriptive underrepresentation of the working class.” American Political Science Review, vol. 110, no. 4, Nov. 2016, pp. 832–44. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0003055416000551. Full Text

Carnes, N., and E. R. Hansen. “Does paying politicians more promote economic diversity in legislatures?.” American Political Science Review, vol. 110, no. 4, Nov. 2016, pp. 699–716. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S000305541600054X. Full Text

Carnes, N., and N. Lupu. “Rethinking the comparative perspective on class and representation: Evidence from latin america.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 59, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 1–18. Scopus, doi:10.1111/ajps.12112. Full Text

Carnes, N. “White-collar government in the United States.” Swiss Political Science Review, vol. 21, no. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 213–21. Scopus, doi:10.1111/spsr.12165. Full Text

Bellemare, M. F., and N. Carnes. “Why do members of congress support agricultural protection?.” Food Policy, vol. 50, Jan. 2015, pp. 20–34. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2014.10.010. Full Text

Carnes, N., and M. L. Sadin. “The "mill worker's son" heuristic: How voters perceive politicians from working-class families-And how they really behave in office.” Journal of Politics, vol. 77, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 285–98. Scopus, doi:10.1086/678530. Full Text


Carnes, N., and N. Lupu. “What good is a college degree? Education and leader quality reconsidered.” Journal of Politics, vol. 78, no. 1, 2016, pp. 35–49. Scopus, doi:10.1086/683027. Full Text