Who Wants to Deliberate - and Why?

45 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2009  

Michael A. Neblo

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science

Kevin M. Esterling

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science

Ryan Kennedy

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

David Lazer

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Anand E. Sokhey

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 15, 2009

Abstract

Interest in deliberative theories of democracy has grown tremendously among political theorists over the last twenty years. Many scholars in political behavior, however, are skeptical that it is a practically viable theory, even on its own terms. They argue (inter alia) that most people dislike politics, and that deliberative initiatives would amount to a paternalistic imposition. Using two large, representative samples investigating people’s hypothetical willingness to deliberate and their actual behavior in response to a real invitation to deliberate with their member of Congress, we find: 1) that willingness to deliberate in the U.S. is much more widespread than expected; and 2) that it is precisely people who are less likely to participate in traditional partisan politics who are most interested in deliberative participation. They are attracted to such participation as a partial alternative to “politics as usual.”

Keywords: Political Science, Electoral Politics

Suggested Citation

Neblo, Michael A. and Esterling, Kevin M. and Kennedy, Ryan and Lazer, David and Sokhey, Anand E., Who Wants to Deliberate - and Why? (September 15, 2009). HKS Working Paper No. RWP09-027. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1476461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1476461

Michael A. Neblo (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Kevin M. Esterling

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.politicalscience.ucr.edu/people/faculty/esterling/index.html

Ryan Kennedy

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

TX 77204-3011
United States
713-743-1663 (Phone)
713-743-3890 (Fax)

David Lazer

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-2796 (Phone)
617-373-5311 (Fax)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Taubman Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0102 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.davidlazer.com

Anand E. Sokhey

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science ( email )

333 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0333
United States

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