Karen Kaufmann

Karen Kaufmann

Lecturer in Public Policy


Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles

Areas of Interest:

Local Government, Politics, Poverty, Race and Ethnicity


(310) 825-4580



Office Location:

6383, Public Affairs

Karen Kaufmann is a lecturer in the department of Public Policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.  She received her Ph.D. in political science from UCLA and was an Associate Professor in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland before returning to California.

Kaufmann’s research on urban politics explores the nature of power in American cities and the ever-present challenges that political leaders face with respect to enacting policies that aid the poor. Kaufmann (with collaborator Thomas Holbrook) was awarded a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study race relations and political behavior in American cities.  Her work examines local politics in the context of diversity, with an eye to the roles that competing interests and incentives play in undermining successful minority coalitions. She is the author of numerous articles and two books — “The Urban Voter: Group Conflict and Mayoral Voting Behavior in American Cities” (University of Michigan Press) and “Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths about American Voters” (with John R. Petrocik and Daron R. Shaw, Oxford University Press).

Kaufmann teaches classes on urban poverty and public policy, urban politics and U.S. housing policy.



The Urban Voter: Group Conflict and Mayoral Voting Behavior in American Cities
University of Michigan Press, 2004
The Consequences of Marriage and Motherhood: How Gender Traits Influence Voter Evaluations of Female Candidates
Journal of Women, Politics and PolicyFebruary 2015, 6:1:1-21 (with Melissa Bell).
Turf Wars: Local Context and Latino Political Development
Urban Affairs Review, January 2012, Volume 48:1:111-147 (with Benjamin Bishin and Daniel Stevens).
Political Behavior in the Context of Racial Diversity: The Case for Studying Local Politics
January 2011, 
PS: Political Science and Politics (with Antonio Rodriguez).
Battleground States versus Blackout States: The Behavioral Implications of Modern Presidential Campaigns
Journal of Politics, August 2007, Volume 69 (3):786-797 (with Jim Gimpel and Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz).
Immigration and the Future of Black Power in American Cities
Du Bois Review, (spring) March 2007, Volume 4 (1):79-96.