Kellen A. Kane Receives the 2022 Kenneth Sherrill Prize

The Kenneth Sherrill Prize is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor the best doctoral dissertation proposal for an empirical study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) topics in political science.    

Kellen A. Kane (he/him/his) is a Research Fellow at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy affiliated with the General Service Administration’s Office of Evaluation Sciences.  He is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Broadly, his work centers on social inequality in the United States and explores how subnational policies and politics exacerbate or ameliorate inequalities experienced by marginalized groups, particularly related to socioeconomic status and health.  His work has been published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, Politics & Gender, and The Forum.

His interdisciplinary and intersectional dissertation research explores queer representation in state legislatures, the health effects of antipoverty policies for queer populations, and decentralized HIV policymaking in the US states.  His dissertation showcases a variety of methodological approaches, including spatial analysis, quasi-experimental methods, and latent variable analysis.  His dissertation research has been supported by the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Citation from the Award Committee: 

The committee has chosen Kellen A. Kane of the University of North Carolina as the 2022 recipient of the Kenneth Sherrill Prize.  Organized into three papers, “Health, Wealth, and Representation: Three Essays on LGBTQ+ Politics and Policy” focuses on several aspects of LGBTQ inequality in terms of public policy design, implementation and outcomes as well as in descriptive representation.  The dissertation promises to make original contributions to knowledge in these areas by posing questions that have been unanswered and by adopting a mixed method approach in which he collects and combines a variety of data sources and develops new measures and analytical strategies.   The first paper examines how the social construction of LGBTQ individuals shapes how state-level bureaucracies implement the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program — specifically how benefits and burdens are distributed unequally among different target populations.  Kane’s second paper, which turns to disparities in poverty and income, explores how and why LGBTQ individuals are at a disadvantage in their ability to participate in a key anti-poverty program — the Earned Income Tax Credit — and the adverse impact that this has on their health.  His third paper turns to why openly LGBTQ candidates are increasingly likely to be elected to some state legislative districts than others and develops a measure predicting that outcome.

APSA thanks the committee members for their service: Dr. Gary Mucciaroni (chair) of Temple University, Dr. Logan S. Casey of Harvard University, and Dr. Gregory B. Lewis of Georgia State University.

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