I study inequality and why it persists.

Unequal social relations and structures can be maintained through force or ideological legitimation. I focus on legitimation. More precisely, I examine factors that ostensibly compensate for inequality—by providing social, psychological, and/or material benefits to subordinated groups—but can paradoxically end up legitimating and reinforcing it. Although legitimation is my focus, I take a broad view of the study of inequality and also examine various injustices and inefficiencies that limit or facilitate people’s opportunity and well-being. Complementing my work on inequality, I also explore social change (including shifts in public opinion and politics) and emphasize applied methods.

I am working on three interconnected lines of research focused on factors that can compensate for but also legitimate inequality: (1) religion, (2) seemingly positive stereotypes about subordinated groups, and (3) philanthropy. Much of my research to date, including my current book project, has focused on religion. In my current postdoctoral position, I am launching projects on positive stereotypes about subordinated groups and philanthropy as additional potential compensators for, but also legitimators of, inequality.

Inequality Research

My research uses a range of quantitative methods with a focus on survey data, including experimental, cross-national, latent variable, twin, and longitudinal analysis. I have also published qualitative and mixed-methods research using interviews, content analysis, and open-ended survey data. Substantively, my work to date has focused on inequality, gender, sexuality, religion, public opinion, politics, and social change.

See my CV for projects not listed on this page. You can access PDFs of my published papers here and several working papers here.

Book Project

Is Faith Feminine? What Americans Really Think About Gender and Religion. Under contract with Oxford University Press.

Selected Articles


Landon Schnabel. “Sexual Orientation and Social Attitudes.” Socius. 4: 1-18 [PDF]

Landon Schnabel. “More Religious, Less Dogmatic: Toward a General Framework for Gender Differences in Religion.” Social Science Research. 75(1):58-72. [PDF]

  • Student Paper Award, Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section, American Sociological Association
  • Student Paper Award, Midwest Sociological Society
  • Janet A. Harkness Paper Award, Honorable Mention, World Association for Public Opinion Research

Landon Schnabel, Conrad Hackett, and David McClendon. “Where Men Appear More Religious Than Women: Turning a Gender Lens on Religion in Israel.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 57(1): 80-94. [PDF]

Andrew Whitehead, Landon Schnabel, and Samuel Perry. “Gun Control in the Crosshairs: Christian Nationalism and Opposition to Stricter Gun Laws.” Socius. 4:1-13. [PDF]

Robbee Wedow, Ryan Masters, Stefanie Mollborn, Landon Schnabel, and Jason Boardman. “Body Size Reference Norms and Subjective Weight Status: A Gender and Life Course  Approach.” Social Forces. 96(3): 1377-1409. [PDF]

Landon Schnabel. Education and Attitudes toward Interpersonal and State-Sanctioned Violence.” PS: Political Science & Politics. 51(3):505-511. [PDF]

Brian Powell, Landon Schnabel, and Lauren Apgar (Powell and Schnabel equal authorship). “Freedom to Discriminate.” Contexts. 17(2): 73-75. [PDF]


Brian Powell, Landon Schnabel, and Lauren Apgar (Powell and Schnabel equal authorship). “Denial of Service to Same-Sex and Interracial Couples: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment.” Science Advances. 3(12): 1-7. [PDF]

Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock. “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research.” Sociological Science. 4: 686-700. [PDF]

  • Most downloaded Sociological Science paper (16k downloads as of March 2018)

Landon Schnabel and Eric Sevell. “Should Mary and Jane Be Legal? Americans’ Attitudes toward Marijuana and Same-Sex Marriage Legalization, 1988-2014.” Public Opinion Quarterly. 81(1): 157-172. [PDF]

  • Student Paper Award, Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Section, American Sociological Association

Robbee Wedow, Landon Schnabel, Lindsey Wedow, and Mary Ellen Konieczny. “‘I’m Gay and I’m Catholic’: Negotiating Two Complex Identities at a Catholic University.” Sociology of Religion. 78(3): 289-317. [PDF]

Samuel Perry and Landon Schnabel (equal authorship). “Seeing is Believing: Religious Media Consumption and Public Opinion toward Same-Sex Relationships.” Social Currents. 4(5): 462-481. [PDF]

Landon Schnabel. “Gendered Religiosity.” Review of Religious Research. 59(4): 547-556 [PDF]


Landon Schnabel. “The Gender Pray Gap: Wage Labor and the Religiosity of High-Earning Women and Men.” Gender & Society. 30(4): 643-669. [PDF] [Online Supplement]

  • Cheryl Allyn Miller Award, Sociologists for Women in Society
  • Distinguished Article Award, Honorable Mention, Religion Section, American Sociological Association
  • McNamara Paper Award, Association for the Sociology of Religion
  • Student Paper Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
  • Schuessler Award for Graduate Research, Department of Sociology, Indiana University
  • Student Paper Award, North Central Sociological Association

Andrew Halpern-Manners, Landon Schnabel, Elaine M. Hernandez, Judy L. Silberg, and Lindon J. Eaves. “The Relationship between Education and Mental Health: New Evidence from a Discordant Twin Study.” Social Forces. 95(1): 107-131. [PDF]

Landon Schnabel. “Gender and Homosexuality Attitudes across Religious Groups from the (cont.)  1970s to 2014: Similarity, Distinction, and Adaptation.” Social Science Research. 55(1): 31-47. [PDF]

Landon Schnabel. “Religion and Gender Equality Worldwide: A Country-Level Analysis.” Social Indicators Research. 129(2): 893-907. [PDF]


Landon Schnabel. “How Religious Are American Women and Men? Gender Differences and Similarities.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 54(3): 616-622. [PDF]

Work in Progress

“Religion and Democratic Citizenship: A Multilevel Examination.” With Catherine Bolzendahl and Rottem Sagi. Revise and resubmit invitation.

“Opiate of the Masses? Social Inequality, Religion, and Politics.” Under review. [Preprint]

  • Student Paper Award, Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section, American Sociological Association

“Secularism and Fertility Worldwide.” Under review. [Preprint]

  • Robert J. McNamara Paper Award, Association for the Sociology of Religion
  • Student Paper Award, Honorable Mention, Religion Section, American Sociological Association

“Does Religion Suppress Gender Differences in Values? A Cross-National Examination.” [Preprint]

“Are Religions Gender-Typed? The Perceived Femininity and Masculinity of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Atheists.”

“Is the Gender Wage Gap Really a Family Wage Gap in Disguise?” With Youngjoo Cha and Kim Weeden.

“Heterogeneity in the Health Returns to College: An Analysis of the Resource Substitution and Resource Multiplication Hypotheses.” With Andrew Halpern-Manners.

“Survey Experiments.” Invited for submission to Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion.


The following are original and secondary data sources I am using or have used in research projects, pretests, and/or community service research:

  • Original Data
    • Experimental Survey Data Collected via AmeriSpeak
    • Experimental Survey Data Collected in College Classrooms
    • Experimental Survey Data Collected via GfK (formerly Knowledge Networks)
    • Experimental Survey Data Collected via MTurk
    • Experimental Survey Data Collected via Qualtrics
    • Indiana University Community Attitudes and Experiences with Sexual Assault Survey
    • Interview Data, College Student Subjects
    • Interview Data, Violence-Prevention-Specialist Subjects
    • Survey Data Collected via Survey Sampling International
    • Textual Data (Political Party and Social Movement Documents)
  • Secondary Data, United States
    • Add Health
    • American Community Survey
    • Baylor Religion Survey
    • General Social Survey
    • High School and Beyond
    • Portraits of American Life Study
    • Survey of Income and Program Participation
    • U.S. Census
    • Virginia 30,000 Twin Study
  • Secondary Data, Global
    • ARDA National Profiles
    • Country-Level Data I Compiled from a Variety of Sources
    • International Social Survey Programme
    • Pew Israel Survey
    • World Values Survey

This page last updated 2018-10-04