Dr. Elizabeth Rigby

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration / Director, Master's in Public Policy Program
Faculty: Full-Time
Address: Media and Public Affairs Building
805 21st St. NW
Washington, DC,
Phone: 202-994-6196
Fax: 202-994-6792
[email protected]

Elizabeth Rigby is an Associate Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University where she teaches courses on the role of politics in the policymaking process. She is also the Director of the Masters in Public Policy program. Her research examines the interplay of politics, policy, and social inequality.

In current projects, Dr. Rigby examines the representation of the poor across state legislatures, public opinion regarding health disparities, achievement gaps and other forms of social inequality, and the effect of electoral institutions on class and racial bias in political participation. Her research has been published in a range of journals including: Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Policy Studies Journal, Political Research Quarterly, and Social Science Quarterly.

Dr. Rigby holds a Ph.D. (with distinction) in Politics and Education from Columbia University. In addition, she received post-doctoral training in population health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar.

Complimenting this academic training, Dr. Rigby has worked at the intersection of politics, policy, and inequality in a range of roles. These include: coordinating a state-wide lobbying campaign, consulting with state policymakers on design of early childhood education programs, teaching in a large urban school district, and conducting evaluation research in Head Start programs. Together these experiences convinced her of the importance of structural and institutional influences on both individual outcomes and the inequalities we see among population sub-groups. This conviction motivates her work illuminating the causes and consequences of public policy in our society.

Current Research

Politics of Poverty and Inequality
Health and Social Policy Analysis
Policymaking Process
Political Parties


PhD, Politics and Education, Columbia University
MA, Education, Washington University in St. Louis
BA, Political Science, Emory University



“Party Politics and Enactment of Obamacare: A Policy-Centered Analysis of Minority Party Involvement,” with Jennifer Hayes Clark and Stacey Pelika, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 2014.

“Hybrid Federalism, Partisan Politics, and the Early Implementation of State Health Insurance Exchanges,” with Jake Haselswerdt, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 2013

“Political Parties and Representation of the Poor in the American States,” with Gerald C. Wright, American Journal of Political Science

“Why we Don’t Need a Second War on Poverty (At Least not Now),” The Huffington Post’s The Road Forward Series, January 15, 2013.

“State Resistance to ObamaCare,” The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, 10(2):5, 2012

“Do Electoral Reforms Promote Equal Participation?,” Scholars Strategy Network Key Findings, 2012


 "Voter Suppression, Equal Rights, and The Promise of Democracy," Panel presentation at Harvard

“Prevention as Health Policy,” Dialogue on Diversity/American Federation of Teachers, Invited presentation to community group

“Money in Politics Symposium,” University of Utah

American University, Center on Health, Risk, and Society Seminar Series, 2012

Classes Taught

PPPA 6011  Politics and Policy Analysis
PPPA 6019  MPP Capstone

Prof. Elizabeth Rigby