Leslie McCall studies public opinion about inequality, opportunity, and related economic and policy issues; trends in actual earnings and family income inequality; and patterns of intersectional inequality. Her work on rising economic inequality among women in the United States, and, more generally, on how racial, class, and gender inequality overlap and conflict with one other across space and time, has been published in a wide range of journals and edited volumes, as well as in her book, Complex Inequality: Gender, Class, and Race in the New Economy
(Routledge, 2001), which was the first runner-up for the C. Wright Mills Book Award, given by the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
In her book, The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution
(Cambridge University Press, 2013), McCall examines how Americans think about the issue of economic inequality and what they want done about it. She continues to work in this area, branching out to include other countries and new methodological approaches. Her current research also includes ongoing studies of rising economic inequality among families, declining gender inequality, and media coverage of economic inequality since the 1980s, using machine learning tools. McCall maintains an interest in feminist social theory and methodology, in particular the conceptualization and empirical analysis of intersectionality from a social science perspective.
Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University, and the Advanced Research Collaborative at the GC. She was formerly Professor of Sociology and Political Science and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University.