Chapel Hill, NC

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©2019 by Leah Christiani. Proudly created with


My research uses quantitative methods to study the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender in the U.S. context. Scroll down for more information about my dissertation and research agenda.



Overt, explicit references to race and identity have started to rise in political discourse. Contextualizing this rise in the longstanding role that identity-based appeals have played in American politics, my dissertation explores the way that implicit and explicit group-based appeals are (and have been) used by elites, and the effects that these appeals have on political behavior. I adopt a group threat framework to argue that when a dominant group perceives greater threat to their status, they will be more likely to accept such appeals and allow them to cue identity-based considerations for use in their decision making processes. I use both survey experiments and analyses of political media to test my expectations. One of my dissertation chapters won the James W. Prothro Award for Outstanding Research from UNC's Department of Political Science in 2019.


To what extent does identity - broadly conceived - influence interactions with the police? I study the way that race, gender, age, and class play a role in concrete outcomes that individuals experience from their contact with law enforcement.


  • Christiani, Leah. "Intersectional Stereotyping in Policing: An Analysis of Traffic Stop Outcomes." Forthcoming: Politics, Groups, and Identities.​ Access: the paper (includes appendix). 

  • Shoub, Kelsey, Derek A. Epp, Frank R. Baumgartner, Leah Christiani and Kevin Roach. "Race, Place, and Context: The Persistence of Race Effects in Traffic Stop Outcomes in the Face of Situational, Demographic, and Political Controls." Forthcoming: The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. Access: the paper and the appendix.

In Progress

  • Shoub, Kelsey, Leah Christiani, Frank R. Baumgartner, Derek A. Epp, and Kevin Roach. "Fines, Fees, and Disparities: The Link between Municipal Reliance on Fines and Racial Disparities in Policing." 

  • Christiani, Leah, Kelsey Shoub, Frank R. Baumgartner, Derek A. Epp, and Kevin Roach. "The Conditional Effects of Descriptive Representation on Racial Disparities in Traffic Stop Outcomes." 

  • Roach, Kevin, Frank R. Baumgartner, Leah Christiani, Derek Epp, and Kelsey Shoub. "At the Intersection: The Amplifying Effects of Gender and Stop Purpose on Race in Determining Traffic Stop Outcomes." 


Policy Reports:

  • Baumgartner, Frank R., Leah Christiani, and Kevin Roach. "Update on Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops Statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety Using 2016 Data." Prepared on April 26, 2017. 

  • Baumgartner, Frank R., Kevin Roach, and Leah Christiani. "Analyzing Racial Disparities in Traffic Stop Statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety." Prepared for the September 20, 2016 committee hearing on the Texas DPS Traffic Statistics.