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Kenicia Wright

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Arizona State University, Tempe
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About Kenicia

Wright's research focuses on the effects of social identities on public policy. She commonly applies intersectionality, the institutional approach, and the theory of representative bureaucracy to explore the effects of overlapping identities and institutions on policy implementation and policy outcomes. Her work addresses broad questions related to socially and economically marginalized groups in the US, including the factors that promote representation of members of traditionally under-represented groups, such as racial/ethnic minorities and women, and the factors that improve equity in health and education policy outcomes.

In the News

Opinion: "New Study Into Latinx Behavior and Politics Launched With Acceptance of Build and Broaden Grant," Kenicia Wright (with Güneş Murat Tezcür), COS News, September 15, 2021.
Research discussed by Monica Byars, in "CLASS Doctoral Candidate’s Research on Minority Women and Politics has Relevance to Current Events," University of Houston News and Events, March 3, 2017.


"An Application of the Theory of Representative Bureaucracy, Gender Concordance, and Symbolic Representation in the Health Care Context" The American Review of Public Administration 52, no. 2 (2022).

Argues the overwhelming attention to male health outcomes—compared to female health outcomes—and focusing on factors that are “traditionally understood” as important in shaping health are two limitations of existing health-related research. Highlights the importance of applying the theory of representative bureaucracy and symbolic representation to health care.

"Public Administration and Racial Disparities in Health and Health Care: Toward New Health Inequality Research" in Race and Public Administration, edited by Amanda Rutherford and Kenneth J. Meier (Routledge, 2020), 68-97.

Highlights that the additional consideration of race in research on health can yield significant insights when offering equitable care. Compares trends in racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population with the composition of health care bureaucrats and shows that the increased diversity of the public has not matched the growth of racial and ethnic minority health care workers. 

"When Social Capital Becomes Political Capital Understanding the Social Contexts of Minority Candidates’ Electoral Success" (with Ling Zhu). The Journal of Race Ethnicity and Politics 6, no. 2 (2020): 1-29.

Asks: “What factors promote the electoral success of minority candidates in state legislatures?” Shifts focus to the determinants of the electoral success of minorities in state legislatures and our findings suggest the stock of social capital owned by racial minorities exclusively benefits the electoral success of minority candidates. 

"Electoral Reform and Minority Representation" (with Jason Casellas), in Changing How America Votes, edited by Todd Donovan (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2017).

Examines the impact of various approaches to elections on racial and ethnic minority populations. Conclusions suggest re-authorizing the preclearance portions of the Voting Rights Act is a great short-term option for improving the representation of racial and ethnic minority and that expanding the use of fair representation voting in the U.S. is also promising.

"Black, White, and Shades of Gray: Minority Managerial Behavior and Organizational Context," (with Kenneth Meier and Kristen Carroll), Midwest Political Science Association, 2017.

Studies how the race of public education administrations effects how these administrators network with various political actors. Using data from Texas school districts, finds differences in the networking behavior of Black administrators and White administrators and support for expectations that some of these differences are a result of Black managers responding strategically to organizational context. 

"Why Do Americans Dislike Publicly Funded Health Care? Examining the Intersection of Race and Gender in the Ideological Context" (with Ling Zhu). Politics, Groups, and Identities 4, no. 4 (2016): 618-637.

Applies the intersectional approach and use 2012 General Social Survey data to examine health care preferences of Americans. Neither race nor gender independently explain these preferences; findings suggest the intersectional effects of race, gender, and political ideology offer a comprehensive explanation of health care preferences.  

"Power and Minority Representation" in Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, edited by Ali Farazmand (Springer International Publishing, 2016).

Explores the effects of representation on the American public. Highlights the growth of racial and ethnic minorities and put forth avenues that will allow minority political representatives and bureaucrats to act as a source of power for minorities in the public.