Jamila Michener

Associate Professor


Jamila Michener is an Associate professor in the department of Government. Her research focuses on poverty, racial inequality and public policy in the United States. Her recent book, Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism and Unequal Politics (Cambridge University Press) examines how Medicaid--the nation’s public health insurance program for people with low income--affects democratic citizenship. Unpacking how federalism transforms Medicaid beneficiaries’ interpretations of government and structures their participation in politics, Fragmented Democracy assesses American political life from the vantage point(s) of those who are living in or near poverty, (disproportionately) Black or Latino, and reliant on a federated government for vital resources.  

Michener’s research has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Ford Foundation. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Prior to working at Cornell, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at the University of Michigan.

Research Focus

Jamila Michener studies American politics and policy, with a particular focus on the political causes and consequences of poverty and racial inequality. Her work explores the conditions under which economically and racially disadvantaged groups engage in the political process, the effects of that engagement, and the role of the state in shaping the political and economic trajectories of marginalized communities.


2018. Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2018. “Gentrification, Demobilization and Participatory Possibilities” (with Diane Wong) in Richard Hays (ed.) Neighborhood Change and Neighborhood Action: The Struggle to Create Neighborhoods that Serve Human Needs.  Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

2017. “Social Class as Racialized Political Experience.” The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 15(1): 93-110.

2017. “People, Places, Power: Medicaid Policy Concentration and Local Political Participation.” Journal of Health, Politics, Policy and Law 42(5): 865-900.

2016. “Race, Poverty and the Redistribution of Voting Rights.” Journal of Poverty and Public Policy 8(2): 106-128. 

2013. “Neighborhood Disorder and Local Participation: Examining the Political Relevance of ‘Broken Windows.’" Political Behavior 35(4): 777-806.

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