Clayton Peoples, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Studies
Clayton Peoples


Clayton D. Peoples is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology. He is also the director of the School of Social Research and Justice Studies and is on the faculty of the interdisciplinary social psychology Ph.D. program. Clayton earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Ohio State University in 2005 and has been at the University of Nevada, Reno since that time.

Substantively, Clayton's interests span social stratification, political sociology/social movements, social psychology/social networks, peace/war/conflict, state-corporate/white-collar crime, courts and comparative/cross-national sociology. Clayton teaches courses on many topics, including stratification, deviance, law and social movements. Clayton enjoys teaching very much and has won awards for his teaching (e.g. the Early Career Award for Innovation in Teaching from the Pacific Sociological Association and the University of Nevada, Reno College of Liberal Arts Dean's Teaching Award).

Clayton has published a number of scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals (e.g. The Sociological Quarterly, Crime, Law, and Social Change and Sociological Forum). Clayton has also been awarded competitive fellowships (e.g. Edmond J. Safra Lab Fellowship at Harvard University) and grants (e.g. Congressional Research Award from the Dirksen Congressional Center).

Clayton's current research examines how campaign contributions influence policymaking and lead to crime/corruption. His other projects examine social class, global ethnic conflict and courtroom interactions/decisions. Clayton recently conducted research as a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University where he studied how campaign contributions influenced the global financial crisis; his 2020 book, The Undermining of American Democracy, is based on that research.


  • Peoples, Clayton D. 2020. The Undermining of American Democracy: How Campaign Contributions Corrupt our System and Harm Us All. New York: Routledge.

Selected refereed articles

  • Peoples, Clayton D. and James E. Sutton. 2015. Congressional Bribery as State-Corporate Crime: A Social Network Analysis. Crime, Law, and Social Change 64:103-25.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. 2013. "Campaign Finance and Policymaking: PACs, Campaign Contributions, and Interest Group Influence in Congress." Sociology Compass 7:900-13.
  • Peoples, Clayton D., Alexandra E. Sigillo, Morgan Green, and Monica K. Miller. 2012. "Friendship and Conformity to Dominant Stances: Juror Verdict Change in Mock Juries." Sociological Spectrum 32:178-93.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. 2010. "Contributor Influence in Congress: Social Ties and PAC Effects on U.S. House Policymaking." The Sociological Quarterly 51:649-77.
  • Evans, M. D. R., Jonathan Kelley, and Clayton D. Peoples. 2010. "Justifications of Inequality: The Normative Basis of Pay Differentials in 31 Nations." Social Science Quarterly 91:1405-31.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. and Tina Hsu Schweizer. 2008. "Restricting Public Life, Creating Deadly Strife: How Political Discrimination Impacts Interethnic Conflict." Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change 28:325-49.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. 2008. "The 'Logistic Dilemma' for SMOs-How to Get Positive Media Coverage? A Theoretical Model and Propositions." Sociological Imagination 44:66-84.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. and Michael Gortari. 2008. "The Impact of Campaign Contributions on Policymaking in the U.S. and Canada: Theoretical and Public Policy Implications." Research in Political Sociology 17:43-64.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. 2008. "Uncovering Political Influence by Using Network Analyses and Exploring Contribution/Party Interactions: The Case of Ohio Legislative Voting." Sociological Focus 41:301-18.
  • Peoples, Clayton D. 2008. "Inter-Legislator Relations and Policymaking: A Sociological Study of Roll Call Voting in a State Legislature." Sociological Forum 23:455-80.

Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. students


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Ohio State University, 2005
  • M.A., Ohio State University, 2001
  • B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1999