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Michael Neblo

Michael Neblo

Michael Neblo

Professor, Political Science; Director, Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability


614 292-7839

2114 Derby Hall
154 N Oval Mall
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • Political Psychology / Political Sociology
  • Political Theory


  • PhD, University of Chicago
  • BA (Philosophy and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences), Northwestern University

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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).