Elizabeth Rigby

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University

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About Elizabeth

Rigby's work examines the politics of inequality and redistribution: identifying conditions shaping the public's policy preferences, examining the policymaking process that shapes health, education, and welfare policies, and assessing the consequences of these policy choices on the level of inequality in our society. Rigby has worked at the intersection of politics, inequality, and public policy in a range of roles and organizations including: Senate Finance Committee, Project Vote Smart, Citizens for Missouri's Children, the National Center for Children and Families, and St. Louis Public Schools. 


How States Can Fight Growing Economic Inequality

  • Megan E. Hatch

Do Election Reforms Promote Equal Participation?

In the News

Quoted by Jessica Leber in "What the 2016 Presidential Candidates Talk about When They Talk about Inequality," Fast Company Co.Exist, September 8, 2015.
Opinion: "States Can Fight Growing Economic Inequality through Lowering Taxes on the Poor, and Stricter Labor Market Policies," Elizabeth Rigby (with Megan E. Hatch), London School of Economics Blog, January 27, 2015.
Opinion: "Not All Election Reforms Promote Equality," Elizabeth Rigby, Boston Globe, March 4, 2014.
Opinion: "Note to the Very Rich: Very Large Taxes = Very Large Benefits," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, February 2, 2011.
Opinion: "School Lunch Programs Help Reverse Childhood Obesity," Elizabeth Rigby (with Rachel Kimbro), The Houston Chronicle, March 5, 2010.
Opinion: "Why Majority Support Does Not Guarantee Health Reform (and Why This isn’t All Bad)," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, October 21, 2009.
Opinion: "Progressive Agenda Tip #1: Pay Your Taxes," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, February 3, 2009.
Opinion: "On This of All MLK Days, Commit to Service Projects," Elizabeth Rigby, The Huffington Post, January 19, 2009.


"Laboratories of (In)equality? Redistributive Policy and Income Inequality in the American States" (with Megan Hatch). Policy Studies Journal 43, no. 2 (2015): 163-187.

Examines the variation and change in state income inequality as a function of state-level policy decisions regarding taxing the wealthy, spending on the poor, and regulating the market. 

"For Richer or Poorer: The Politics of Redistribution in Bad Economic Times" (with Megan Hatch). Political Research Quarterly 70, no. 3 (2017): 590-603.

Examines the role of state economic conditions on their taxing and spending policies, showing how these dynamics differ under Democratic versus Republican party control.

"Policymaking by Other Means: Do Governments Use Administrative Barriers to Limit Access to Medicaid?" (with Donald P. Moynihan and Pamela Herd). Administration and Society 48, no. 4 (2016): 497-524.

Documents the variation in red tape facing individuals attempting to enroll in Medicaid, and explores how that varies across states in ways related to states' political and economic contexts.

"Academic Research and Legislative Advocacy: Information Use in the Campaign against Repeal of the ACA" (with Kimberly J. Morgan). Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law 43, no. 3 (2018).

Explores the role of academic research in advocacy materials prepared for and used by a high-profile coalition working to block repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

"Political Parties and Representation of the Poor in the American States" (with Gerald C. Wright). American Journal of Political Science 57, no. 3 (2013): 552-565.

Compares the relationship between state parties' policy platforms and the policy priorities of their low-income, middle-income, and high-income constituents. 

"Incorporating Economic Policy into a "Health-in-All-Policies' Agenda" (with Megan Hatch). Health Affairs 35, no. 1 (2016): 2044-2052.

Highlights the often-overlooked role of economic policies, such as minimum wage, on health outcomes at the state-level.