Elaine Denny

Assistant Professor
  • Ph.D., Political Science, 2017, University of California, San Diego
  • M.P.P., Human Rights and Development, 2009, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • B.A., Chemistry (Highest Honors), 2004, Williams College
Research Interests: 
  • Political behavior
  • Political participation
  • Inequality and economic insecurity
  • American politics

Denny studies how financial insecurity changes how people make decisions, with downstream effects on political preferences and behavior. Her research links financial stress to disparities in political participation, and she shows how (and why) financial insecurity changes one’s likelihood of taking political action. Denny combines survey, lab, and field studies to both identify mediating psychological factors that affect behavior, and to test the efficacy of interventions that leverage these findings in actual policy settings. Additional interests include developing methods for measuring social norms change, and using cutting-edge causal inference to evaluate the efficacy of poverty alleviation efforts.

Contact Political Science

Political Science Chair
Stephen P. Nicholson, Professor
Political Science (General)
Political Science (Graduate)
Political Science Mailing Address
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
The first new American research
university in the 21st century, with a
mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
University of California, Merced


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