Book Talk -- Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy


Monday, December 3, 2018, 1:00pm to 2:15pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Floor 2, Suite 200N

Join us for a book talk with Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy authors Michael Neblo, Ohio State University; and David Lazer, Northeastern University. Jill Lepore, Harvard University, will serve as a respondent. Archon Fung, Harvard Kennedy School, will moderate. 

Lunch will be served. 

Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy

Politics with the People

Citizens and scholars alike worry about the health of representative democracy around the world today. They worry about resurgent nationalism across the globe as well as accusations of “democratic deficits” against technocrats. In the United States, approval of Congress remains near its all-time low, with populist challenges roiling both major parties. In Politics with the People, the authors argue that key to rejuvenating US democracy is a bolstering of the connection of citizens to their elected representatives. The authors evaluate this claim through a series of experiments that involved sitting Members of Congress meeting with a random set of constituents in online town halls. These online town halls yielded high quality discussion and rational persuasion, with diverse citizen participation, and increased citizen policy knowledge. The authors also demonstrate that these Internet-enabled town halls, if properly supported, can potentially touch a very large fraction of US citizens.

Michael Neblo is Associate Professor of Political Science and (by courtesy) Philosophy, and Public Policy at The Ohio State University, where he also directs the Institute for Democratic Engagement & Accountability (IDEA).

David Lazer is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University, and Co-Director, NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks.