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Michael A. Neblo

Michael Neblo headshot- white man with brown hair wearing blue suit, with blue tie and striped blue shirt

Michael A. Neblo

Professor of Political Science and (by courtesy) Philosophy, Communication, and Public Policy & Director of the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA)


2058 Derby Hall
154 N Oval Mall
Columbus, OH

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Curriculum Vitae

Professor Neblo's research focuses on deliberative democracy and political psychology. His most recent book, Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy (with Kevin Esterling and David Lazer; Cambridge University Press, 2018), develops and tests a new model of politics connecting citizens and elected officials to improve representative government. He was invited to testify before Congress about these findings. His first book, Deliberative Democracy between Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2015), cuts across the deadlock between supporters of deliberative theory and their empirical critics by focusing on the core goals of the larger deliberative political system. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a wide range of academic journals, including Science, The American Political Science Review, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, The American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Analysis, Public Opinion Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, Political Communication, Social Science & Medicine, among others.

Neblo holds a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences (MMSS) from Northwestern University. He is the founding director of Ohio State’s Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) and its signature initiative Connecting to Congress. He teaches courses in deliberative democratic and general political theory from the introductory level up to graduate seminars, as well as graduate courses on Social Theory for Social Scientists and the philosophy of Jürgen Habermas. He has tertiary interests in Congressional reform, applied philosophy of social science, politics and the emotions, race politics, health politics, immigration, politics and technology, and politics and the arts. Neblo has been the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Carnegie Corporation, the Democracy Fund, the Kettering Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Veterans Administration, the International Society for Political Psychology, the Ash Institute, and a large grant from the National Science Foundation to design and study Deliberative Town Hall meetings with the cooperation of members of the U.S. Congress.

Selected Publications

Impassioned Democracy: The Roles of Emotion in Deliberative Democracy
American Political Science Review (April 7, 2020).

Demographics and (Equal?) Voice: Assessing Participation in Online Deliberative Sessions
With R. Kennedy, A. Sokhey, C. Abernathy, K. Esterling, D. Lazer, A. Lee, & W. Minozzi Political Studies (2020)

A Humble Form of Government: Democracy as the Politics of Collective Experience
With Emily Ann Israelson. In The Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Humility (2020)

The Incidental Pundit: Who Talks Politics with Whom, and Why?
With William Minozzi, Hyunjin Song, David Lazer, and Katherine Ognyanova. American Journal of Political Science (April 24, 2019).

Constituent Communication Through Telephone Town Halls: A Field Experiment Involving Members of Congress
With Claire Abernathy, Kevin M. Esterling, Justin Freebourn, Ryan Kennedy, William Minozzi, and Jonathan A. Solis. Legislative Studies Quarterly (May 2019).

Deliberative Democracy and Political Decision Making
With Jon Green and Jon Kingzette. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics (May 2019).

The Crisis of Democracy and the Science of Deliberation
With Dryzek et al. Science 363, no. 6432: 1144-1146 (2019).

Low Status Rejection: How Status Hierarchies Influence Negative Tie Formation
With Brian Rubineau and Yisook Lim. Social Networks 56: 33-44 (2019).

Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy
With Kevin Esterling and David Lazer. Cambridge University Press, (2018).  

Critical Dialogue -- Exchange with James Fishkin on Politics with the People
With Kevin Esterling and David Lazer. Perspectives on Politics, (2018).  

Politics in Translation: Communication Between Sites of the Deliberative System
With Avery White. In The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy: 447 (2018).

The Need for a Translational Science of Democracy
With William Minozzi, Kevin Esterling, Jonathan Kingzette, Jon Green, and David Lazer. Science (2017).

Deliberative Democracy between Theory and Practice
Cambridge University Press (2015).

Field Experiment Evidence of Substantive, Attributional, and Behavioral Persuasion by Members of Congress in Online Town Halls
With William Minozzi, Kevin Esterling, and David Lazer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(13), 3937-3942 (2015). Supporting Information.pdf

Expanding the Conversation: Multiplier Effects from a Deliberative Field Experiment
With David Lazer, Anand Sokhey, Kevin Esterling, and Ryan Kennedy. Political Communication (2015).

Reform Pluralism as Political Theology and Democratic Technology
Election Law Journal. 13(4): 526-533 (2014).

Connecting to Constituents: The Diffusion of Representation Practices among Congressional Websites
With Kevin Esterling, & David Lazer. Political Research Quarterly, 66(1):102-114 (2012).

What is Good Quality Public Deliberation?
With Susan Dorr Goold, Scott Y. H. Kim, Raymond de Vries, Gene Rowe, and Peter Muhlberger. Hastings Center Report. 42(2): 24-26 (2012).

Deliberation's Legitimation Crisis
Critical Review. 23(3): 405-419 (2011).

The Multiple Institutional Logics of Innovation
With David Lazer, Ines Mergel, Curt Ziniel, and Kevin Esterling. International Public Management Journal (2011).

Representative Communication: Website Interactivity & 'Distributional Path Dependence' in the U.S. Congress
With Kevin Esterling and David Lazer. Political Communication (2011).

The Internet and the Madisonian Cycle: Possibilities and Prospects for Consultative Representation
Edited by Peter Shane (with Kevin Esterling and David Lazer). In Building Democracy Through Online Citizen Consultation. MIT Press (2011).

Means, Motive, and Opportunity in Becoming Informed About Politics: A Deliberative Field Experiment
With Kevin Esterling & David Lazer. Public Opinion Quarterly (2011). (Web Appendix [pdf])

Estimating Treatment Effects in the Presence of Selection on Unobservables
With Kevin Esterling & David Lazer. Political Analysis (2011).

Who Wants To Deliberate — And Why?
With Kevin Esterling, Ryan Kennedy, David Lazer, and Anand Sokhey. American Political Science Review (2010). (Web Appendix)(Replication Materials)

(Winner of the 2011 Heinz Eulau Award for the best article published in the American Political Science Review.)

Disentangling Diversity in Deliberative Democracy: Competing Theories, Their Blind Spots and Complementarities
With Andre Bächtiger, Simon Niemeyer, Jürg Steiner, and Marco Steenbergen. The Journal of Political Philosophy (2010).

The Coevolution of Networks and Political Attitudes
With David Lazer, Brian Rubineau, Carol Chetkovich, and Nancy Katz. Political Communication (2010). 

Three-Fifths a Racist: Context and Meaning in the Race Politics Debate
Political Behavior (2009). (Web Appendix)

(2002 Winner of the Roberta Sigel Best Paper Award, International Society for Political Psychology)

Meaning & Measurement: Reorienting the Race Politics Debate
Political Research Quarterly (2009). (Web Appendix)

Veterans' Views on Balancing Privacy & Research in Medicine: A Deliberative Democratic Study
With Joy Pritts, Laura Damschroder, & Rodney Hayward. Journal of Medicine & Law (January, 2008).

Family Disputes: Diversity in Defining and Measuring Deliberation
Swiss Political Science Review 13(4): 527-57 (Dec. 2007).

Philosophical Psychology with Political Intent
In The Affect Effect: Dynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and Behavior.  University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2007).

Patients, Privacy, & Trust
With Joy Pritts, Laura Damschroder, John Creswell, Rosemarie Kalarickel & Rodney Hayward. Social Science & Medicine (January 2007).

Measuring and Explaining the Quality of Web Sites in the (Virtual) House of Representatives
With Kevin Esterling & David Lazer. In Current Issues and Trends in E-Government Research. Donald F. Norris (ed.). The Idea Group (2007). 

Thinking Through Democracy: Between the Theory & Practice of Deliberative Politics
Acta Politica, 40:2 (July, 2005).

Home (Page) Style
With Kevin Esterling & David Lazer. International Journal of E-government Research, 1(2), 48-62 (April-June 2005).

Giving Hands & Feet to Morality
Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 2, Number 1 (March 2004).

The Emergence of Post-Culturalism
With Larry Nucci. Human Development, v.41 (1998).


Selected Working Papers

A Plague on Politics? The Covid Crisis and the Future of Legitimation
With Jeremy Wallace.

A Speech Act Perspective on the Survey Response
With Jon Green, Jon Kingzette, and William Minozzi.

The Role of Familiarity in Democratic Representation: A Field Experiment on Constituent Attitudes toward Members of Congress
With Kevin Esterling, David Lazer, and William Minozzi.

The social control of political participation: Conflict and contagion as processes (de)mobilizing voting 
With David Lazer, Katya Ognyanova, and William Minozzi.

Picking People or Pushing Politics.pdf 
With David Lazer and Brian Rubineau.

Thrasymachus's Blush: The Science and Politics of Motivated Reasoning and 'Principled Rhetoric' 
With William Minozzi.

Logos, Ethos, Pathos: Mechanisms of Persuasion in a Deliberative Field Experiment
With William Minozzi, David Lazer, Kevin Esterling.

Is Anxiety About Immigration a Response to Perceptions of Risk or Uncertainty?
With Sarah Bryner and Christopher Devine.

Illegality, National Origin Cues, and Public Opinion on Immigration
With Karthick Ramakrishnan, Kevin Esterling, and David Lazer

The Weight of Passion: A Revisionist History of Political Emotion

Change for the Better?: Linking the Mechanisms of Deliberative Opinion Change to Normative Theory

Impassioned Democracy: The Role of Emotion in Deliberative Theory

Narrative Democracy: Myths of Founding and Re-founding in Magical Realist Novels

Motive Matters: Liberalism & Insincerity

A Theory of Deliberation as Interactive Reasoning
With William Minozzi and David Siegel.

Barbarians at the Gate & Neighbors Next Door: Policy Knowledge, Anxiety, & Public Opinion about Immigration in the U.S.
With Robert Gulotty.

Counting Voices in an Echo Chamber: Cognition, Complexity, and the Prospects for Deliberative Democracy

Op Eds & Book Reviews

In the face of COVID-19 crisis, Congress must modernize
The Columbus Dispatch (April 29th, 2020). 

Congress Must Stay Connected Even in Time of Social Distancing
With Kevin Esterling and David Lazer. Brookings (2020)

Representing is Hard. Online Town Halls Can Help
With David Lazer and Kevin Esterling. Roll Call (Nov. 30th 2018).

IDEA Policy Memo - Finding Common Ground: Deliberative Solutions to the Opioid Crisis in Ohio
With Jonathon Kingzette, Jon Green, and Ryan Kennedy (Nov. 2018).

Can Members of Congress Change Your Mind?
With David Lazer. Politico (April 19th, 2015).

Politicians and citizens talking without shouting? It can happen.
The Washington Post (March 16th, 2015).

Digital town halls take political discussions beyond sound and fury
The Conversation (March 16th, 2015). 

Town Halls without the Screaming or Scripting
The Boston Globe (August 30th, 2009).

Review of Thomas Schelling's Strategies of Commitment and Other Essays
With Benjamin Jones. Ethics (Oct. 2007).

Review of Joseph Heath's Communicative Action and Rational Choice
Ethics (October, 2003).

Review of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (eds.) Choices, Values, and Frames
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (Summer, 2003).

Review of Dennis Chong's Rational Lives: Norms and Values in Politics and Society
Ethics (April, 2002).