Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

21st Century Democracy

How is our democracy adapting to the potential of the Internet?


Most of my research in this area has examined the impact of the Internet on the relationship between citizens and their representatives.

The Connecting to Congress project, which I’ve led with Kevin Esterling and Michael Neblo, has focused on how Members of Congress have (and have not) utilized the Internet, and also conducted field experiments to examine the impact of online townhalls on citizens.

21st Century Democracy: Publications List

Publications list

K. Esterling, M. Neblo, and D. Lazer, “Means, Motive, & Opportunity in Becoming Informed About Politics: A Deliberative Field Experiment with Members of Congress and Their Constituents,” Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming.

K. Esterling, M. Neblo, and D. Lazer, “Estimating Treatment Effects in the Presence of Noncompliance and Nonresponse: The Generalized Endogenous Treatment Model”, Political Analysis, forthcoming.

K. Esterling, M. Neblo, and D. Lazer, Connecting to Constituents: The Diffusion of Representation Practices among Congressional Websites, Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming.

M. Binz-Scharf, D. Lazer, and I. Mergel,  Searching for answers: Networks of Practice among Public Administrators. American Review of Public Administration, 41(2), 2012: 202-225.

K. Esterling, D. Lazer, and M. Neblo, “Representative Communication: Website Interactivity & Distributional Path Dependence in the U.S. Congress,” Political Communication, 28, 2011:  409-439.

D. Lazer, K. Esterling and M. Neblo, “The Internet and the Madisonian Cycle:  Possibilities and Prospects for Consultative Representation,” in S. Coleman and P. Shane, Connecting Democracy: Online Consultation and the Flow of Political Communication.  MIT Press, 2011. 

D. Lazer, I. Mergel, C. Ziniel, K. Esterling, and M. Neblo, “The multiple institutional logics of innovation,” International Public Management Journal, 14, 2011: 311-340.

 M. Neblo, K. Esterling, R. Kennedy, D. Lazer, and A. Sokhey, Who wants to deliberate—and Why,” American Political Science Review 104(3), 2010:  566-583.
Awarded Heinz Eulau award for best paper in the APSR in 2010.

 V. Mayer-Schönberger, and D. Lazer, Governance and Information Technology. From Electronic Government to Information Government, MIT press 2007

V. Mayer-Schönberger, and D. Lazer, Governance and Information Technology: From Electronic Government to Information Government, MIT press: 2007.

Developments in information and communication technology and networked computing over the past two decades have given rise to the notion of electronic government, most commonly used to refer to the delivery of public services over the Internet. This volume argues for a shift from the narrow focus of "electronic government"...more at MIT Press. Purchase from Amazon, B&N.

Journal Article
Publication date: 
Kevin Esterling
Michael Neblo
David Lazer
Anand E. Sokhey
Ryan P. Kennedy

Interest in deliberative theories of democracy has grown tremendously among political theorists, political scientists, activists, and even government officials. Many scholars, 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.