Bio


James S. Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he is Professor of Communication, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy.

He received his B.A. from Yale in 1970 and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale as well as a second Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cambridge.

He is the author of Democracy When the People Are Thinking (Oxford 2018), When the People Speak (Oxford 2009), Deliberation Day (Yale 2004 with Bruce Ackerman) and Democracy and Deliberation (Yale 1991).

He is best known for developing Deliberative Polling® – a practice of public consultation that employs random samples of the citizenry to explore how opinions would change if they were more informed. His work on deliberative democracy has stimulated more than 100 Deliberative Polls in 28 countries around the world. It has been used to help governments and policy makers make important decisions in Texas, China, Mongolia, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Bulgaria, Brazil, Uganda and other countries around the world.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Professor of Communication, Stanford University (2003 - Present)
  • Professor of Political Science, Stanford University (2003 - Present)
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (2001 - 2002)
  • Professor of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin (1984 - 2003)
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1984 - 1985)
  • Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (1981 - 1981)
  • Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University (1979 - 1984)
  • Mellon Fellow, Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies,, Aspen, Colorado (1979 - 1979)
  • Junior Faculty Fellowship, Yale University (1978 - 1979)
  • Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University (1975 - 1979)
  • Lecturer in Political Science, Yale University (1974 - 1974)
  • Graduate Fellowship, Yale University (1972 - 1974)

Honors & Awards


  • Eyes of Texas Award, University of Texas at Austin (1996)
  • Visiting Fellow Commoner, Trinity College, Cambridge, England (1992-1993)
  • Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1987-1988)
  • Erik H. Erikson Prize, International Society of Political Psychology (1985)
  • Ehrman Studentship, Yale University (1970-1972)
  • Jacob Cooper Philosophy Prize, Yale University (1968)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Academic Advisor, What’s Next California
  • Member, Editorial Board, Social Philosophy and Policy
  • Academic Advisor, Northern Ireland Deliberative Poll in Omagh (2007 - 2007)
  • Academic Advisor, National Bulgarian Deliberative Poll (2007 - 2007)
  • Academic Advisor, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions National Online Deliberative Poll (2007 - 2007)
  • Academic Advisor European Wide Deliberative Poll, European Wide Deliberative Poll (2007 - 2007)
  • Academic Advisor, Italian Deliberative Poll for Regione Lazio (2006 - 2006)
  • Chair, Dept of Communication, Stanford University (2005 - Present)
  • Chair, Journalism Advisory Committee, Dept of Communication, Stanford University (2004 - 2005)
  • Director, Center for Deliberative Democracy, Stanford University (2003 - Present)
  • Janet M. Peck Chair, International Communication, Stanford University (2003 - Present)
  • Graduate Advisor, Dept of Communication, Stanford University (2003 - 2009)
  • Academic Advisor, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (2001 - Present)
  • Director, Special Project, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford (2001 - 2002)
  • Patterson-Banister Chair in Government, Law and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin (1999 - 2003)
  • Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School (1999 - 2002)
  • Member, Editorial Board, American Journal of Political Science (1998 - 2001)
  • Director, Center for Deliberative Polling, University of Texas at Austin (1996 - 2003)
  • Member, Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community (1996 - 1999)
  • Executive Director of the National Issues Convention broadcast, PBS (1996 - 1996)
  • Academic Advisor, Britain’s Channel 4 "Power and the People" (1994 - 2000)
  • Member, The Democracy Project, Public Broadcasting Service (1994 - 1998)
  • Chair, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin (1988 - 2001)
  • Darrell K. Royal Regents Chair, Ethics and American Society and Professor of Government, Law and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin (1988 - 1999)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green, Ohio (1987 - Present)
  • Associate Editor of Ethics, An International Journal of Social, Political and Legal Philosophy (1979 - 1992)

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of Cambridge, Philosophy (1976)
  • Ph.D., Yale University, Political Science (1975)
  • B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Yale College (1970)

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • The crisis of democracy and the science of deliberation. Science (New York, N.Y.) Dryzek, J. S., Bachtiger, A., Chambers, S., Cohen, J., Druckman, J. N., Felicetti, A., Fishkin, J. S., Farrell, D. M., Fung, A., Gutmann, A., Landemore, H., Mansbridge, J., Marien, S., Neblo, M. A., Niemeyer, S., Setala, M., Slothuus, R., Suiter, J., Thompson, D., Warren, M. E. 2019; 363 (6432): 1144–46

    View details for PubMedID 30872504

  • Intergroup Contact in Deliberative Contexts: Evidence From Deliberative Polls JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION Kim, N., Fishkin, J. S., Luskin, R. C. 2018; 68 (6): 1029–51

    View details for DOI 10.1093/joc/jqy056

    View details for Web of Science ID 000456043900009

  • Deliberative polling for multistakeholder internet governance: considered judgments on access for the next billion INFORMATION COMMUNICATION & SOCIETY Fishkin, J. S., Senges, M., Donahoe, E., Diamond, L., Siu, A. 2018; 21 (11): 1541–54
  • Community Perspective on Policy Options for Resettlement Management: A Case Study of Risk Reduction in Bududa, Eastern Uganda. PLoS currents Neema, S., Mongo Bua, G., Tuhebwe, D., Ssentongo, J., Tumuhamye, N., Mayega, R. W., Fishkin, J., Atuyambe, L. M., Bazeyo, W. 2018; 10

    Abstract

    Despite existing policy actions on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), many community members in Bududa still continue to settle in high-risk areas re-zoned for nonsettlement. There seems to be an apparent information asymmetry on expectations between the community and Government. The challenge then is 'how to consult communities and seek their opinion in an adequately representative unbiased way'. This paper sets out to explore policy options on resettlement management as a DRR approach and how engaging with communities in a public discourse using the Deliberative Polling (DP) approach; to obtain their opinions and insights on these policy issues, revealed underlying challenges to policy implementation.A qualitative study was conducted in Bududa in eastern Uganda with fourteen group discussions; comprising 12-15 randomly assigned participants of mixed socio-economic variables. Trained research assistants and moderators collected data. All discussions were audio taped, transcribed verbatim before analysis. Data were analyzed using latent content analysis by identifying codes from which sub-themes were generated and grouped into main themes on policy options for resettlement management.We used Deliberative Polling, an innovative approach to public policy consultation and found that although the community is in agreement with most government policy options under resettlement management, they lacked an understanding of the rationale underlying these policy options leading to challenges in implementation. The community members seemed uncertain and had mistrust in government's ability to implement the policies especially on issues of compensation for land lost. Key Words: Policy, Deliberative Polling, Climate change, risk-reduction, landslides, Uganda.

    View details for PubMedID 30191081

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6100022

  • Deliberative Agenda Setting: Piloting Reform of Direct Democracy in California PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICS Fishkin, J., Kousser, T., Luskin, R. C., Siu, A. 2015; 13 (4): 1030-1042
  • Effectiveness of public deliberation methods for gathering input on issues in healthcare: Results from a randomized trial. Social science & medicine Carman, K. L., Mallery, C., Maurer, M., Wang, G., Garfinkel, S., Yang, M., Gilmore, D., Windham, A., Ginsburg, M., Sofaer, S., Gold, M., Pathak-Sen, E., Davies, T., Siegel, J., Mangrum, R., Fernandez, J., Richmond, J., Fishkin, J., Siu Chao, A. 2015; 133: 11-20

    Abstract

    Public deliberation elicits informed perspectives on complex issues that are values-laden and lack technical solutions. This Deliberative Methods Demonstration examined the effectiveness of public deliberation for obtaining informed public input regarding the role of medical evidence in U.S. healthcare. We conducted a 5-arm randomized controlled trial, assigning participants to one of four deliberative methods or to a reading materials only (RMO) control group. The four deliberative methods reflected important differences in implementation, including length of the deliberative process and mode of interaction. The project convened 76 groups between August and November 2012 in four U.S.Chicago, IL; Sacramento, CA; Silver Spring, MD; and Durham, NC, capturing a sociodemographically diverse sample with specific attention to ensuring inclusion of Hispanic, African-American, and elderly participants. Of 1774 people recruited, 75% participated: 961 took part in a deliberative method and 377 participants comprised the RMO control group. To assess effectiveness of the deliberative methods overall and of individual methods, we evaluated whether mean pre-post changes on a knowledge and attitude survey were statistically different from the RMO control using ANCOVA. In addition, we calculated mean scores capturing participant views of the impact and value of deliberation. Participating in deliberation increased participants' knowledge of evidence and comparative effectiveness research and shifted participants' attitudes regarding the role of evidence in decision-making. When comparing each deliberative method to the RMO control group, all four deliberative methods resulted in statistically significant change on at least one knowledge or attitude measure. These findings were underscored by self-reports that the experience affected participants' opinions. Public deliberation offers unique potential for those seeking informed input on complex, values-laden topics affecting broad public constituencies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.024

    View details for PubMedID 25828260

  • Effectiveness of public deliberation methods for gathering input on issues in healthcare: Results from a randomized trial SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE Carman, K. L., Mallery, C., Maurer, M., Wang, G., Garfinkel, S., Yang, M., Gilmore, D., Windham, A., Ginsburg, M., Sofaer, S., Gold, M., Pathak-Sen, E., Davies, T., Siegel, J., Mangrum, R., Fernandez, J., Richmond, J., Fishkin, J., Chao, A. S. 2015; 133: 11-20
  • The EuroPolis deliberative poll EUROPEAN UNION POLITICS Isernia, P., Fishkin, J. S. 2014; 15 (3): 311-327
  • Europolis and the European public sphere: Empirical explorations of a counterfactual ideal EUROPEAN UNION POLITICS Fishkin, J. S., Luskin, R. C., Siu, A. 2014; 15 (3): 328-351
  • Deliberating across Deep Divides POLITICAL STUDIES Luskin, R. C., O'Flynn, I., Fishkin, J. S., Russell, D. 2014; 62 (1): 116-135
  • POLLING AND DEMOCRACY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE AAPOR TASK FORCE REPORT ON PUBLIC OPINION AND LEADERSHIP PUBLIC OPINION QUARTERLY Newport, F., Shapiro, R. Y., Ayres, W., Belden, N., Fishkin, J., Fung, A., Herbst, S., Lake, C., Page, B., Page, S., Pinkerton, J. P., Selzer, J. A., Warren, M. 2013; 77 (4): 853-860

    View details for DOI 10.1093/poq/nft039

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329135200001

  • Deliberation, Single-Peakedness, and the Possibility of Meaningful Democracy: Evidence from Deliberative Polls JOURNAL OF POLITICS List, C., Luskin, R. C., Fishkin, J. S., McLean, I. 2013; 75 (1): 80-95
  • Deliberating Across Deep Divides Political Studies Luskin, R. C., O’Flynn, I., Russell, D. 2012
  • WHY DELIBERATIVE POLLING? REPLY TO GLEASON CRITICAL REVIEW Fishkin, J. S. 2011; 23 (3): 393-403
  • Making Deliberative Democracy Practical: Public Consultation and Dispute Resolution Ohio State Journal of Dispute Resolution Fishkin, J. S. 2011; 22 (4): 611-626
  • DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY AND CONSTITUTIONS SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY & POLICY Fishkin, J. S. 2011; 28 (1): 242-260
  • Deliberative Democracy in an Unlikely Place: Deliberative Polling in China BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Fishkin, J. S., He, B., Luskin, R. C., Siu, A. 2010; 40: 435-448
  • Disaggregating Deliberation's Effects: An Experiment within a Deliberative Poll BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Farrar, C., Fishkin, J. S., Green, D. P., List, C., Luskin, R. C., Paluck, E. L. 2010; 40: 333-347
  • The Deliberative Deficit and What to Do About It The Good Society Fishkin, J. S. 2010; 19 (1): 66-76
  • Deliberative Democracy in an Unlikely Place: China’s First Deliberative Poll British Journal of Political Science Luskin, R. C., He, B., Siu, A., Fishkin, J. S. 2010; 40 (2): 435-448
  • Population and Political Theory (PPAS - Philosophy, Politics & Society) Fishkin, J. S. edited by Goodin, R. E. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 2010
  • Hitobito wa hanasu toki: Jukugi minshu shugi to kōkai kyōgi o Fishkin, J. S. Chinese edition, in press. 2010
  • When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation Fishkin, J. S. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2010
  • When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation Fishkin, J. S. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009
  • Broadcasts of deliberative polls: Aspirations and effects BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Fishkin, J. S., Luskin, R. C. 2006; 36: 184-188
  • Beyond polling alone: The quest for an informed public CRITICAL REVIEW Fishkin, J. S. 2006; 18 (1-3): 157-165
  • Experimenting with a democratic ideal: Deliberative Polling and public opinion ACTA POLITICA Fishkin, J. S., Luskin, R. C. 2005; 40 (3): 284-298
  • Defending Deliberation: A Comment on Ian Shapiro's State of Democratic Theory Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy Fishkin, J. S. 2005; 8 (1): 71-78
  • Deliberative Polling: From Experiment to Community Resource The Deliberative Democracy Handbook Farrar, C., Fishkin, J. S. edited by Gastil, J., Levine, P. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. 2005
  • Deliberation Day Ackerman, B., Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press,. 2004
  • Debating Deliberative Democracy Fishkin, J. S. edited by Laslett, P. Oxford: Blackwell. 2003
  • Informed Public Opnion about Foreign Policy: The Uses of Deliberative Polling Brookings Review Brady , H. E., Luskin, R. C., Fishkin, J. S. 2003; 21 (3): 16-19
  • Considered Opinions: Deliberative Polling in the UK British Journal of Political Science Fishkin, J., Luskin, R. C., Jowell, R. 2002: 455-487
  • Deliberative polling and public consultation PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS Fishkin, J. S., Luskin, R. C., JOWELL, R. 2000; 53 (4): 657-666
  • Bringing Deliberation to the Democratic Dialogue A Poll With a Human Face: The National Issues Convention Experiment in Political Communication Luskin, R. C., Fishkin, J. S. edited by McCombs, M. . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 1999
  • The Quest for Deliberative Democracy The Good Society Luskin, R. C., Fishkin, J. S. 1999; 9 (1): 1-8
  • Making Deliberative Democracy Work: A Reply to Elkin, Lustig and Sanders The Good Society Luskin, R. C., Fishkin, J. S. 1999; 9 (1): 22-29
  • The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1997
  • The televised deliberative poll: An experiment in democracy ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE Fishkin, J. S. 1996; 546: 132-140
  • The Dialogue of Justice Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1996
  • The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1995
  • Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1993
  • The Dialogue of Justice Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1992
  • The Deliberative Opinion Poll: A Dialogue The Public Perspective Ladd, E. C., Morin, R., Traugott, M. 1992; 3 (4): 29-34
  • Philosophy, Politics and Society, Sixth Series: Justice Between Age Groups and Generations Fishkin, J. S. edited by Laslett, P. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1992
  • A Voice for 'We the People' in the Electoral Process The Chronicle of Higher Education Fishkin, J. S. 1992; XXXVIII (43): A40
  • Bringing Deliberation to Democracy Contemporary Philosophy Fishkin, J. S. 1992; XIV (2): 4-7
  • Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1991
  • Justice Between Generations: Compensation, Identity and Group Membership NOMOS XXXIII Compensatory Justice Fishkin, J. S. edited by Chapman, J. W. New York University Press. 1991: 85–96
  • TOWARDS A NEW SOCIAL-CONTRACT NOUS Fishkin, J. S. 1990; 24 (2): 217-226
  • In Search of the Social Contract Individual Liberty and Democratic Order Fishkin, J. S. edited by Lomasky, L., Brennan, G. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1989
  • Conflicting Ideals of Democracy: Reflections on Reform of the Democratic Process Hofstra Law Review Fishkin, J. S. 1989; 19 (2): 395-409
  • THE COMPLEXITY OF SIMPLE JUSTICE ETHICS Fishkin, J. S. 1988; 98 (3): 464-471
  • BARGAINING, JUSTICE, AND JUSTIFICATION - TOWARDS RECONSTRUCTION SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY & POLICY Fishkin, J. S. 1988; 5 (2): 46-64
  • Do We Need a Systematic Theory of Equal Opportunity? Equality of Opportunity Fishkin, J. S. edited by Bowie, N. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. 1988
  • The Case for a National Caucus: Taking Democracy Seriously The Atlantic Fishkin, J. S. 1988
  • Equal Opportunity versus Liberty Social Philosophy and Policy Fishkin, J. S. 1987; 5 (1): 32-48
  • Ideals without an Ideal: Justice, Democracy and Liberty in Liberal Theory Individual Liberty and Democratic Decision-making Fishkin, J. S. edited by Koslowski, P. J.C.B. Mohr. 1987
  • Beyond Subjective Morality: Ethical Reasoning and Political Philosophy Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1985
  • UTILITARIANISM VERSUS HUMAN-RIGHTS - COMMENT ON GIBBARD SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY & POLICY Fishkin, J. 1984; 1 (2): 103-107
  • Justice, Equal Opportunity and the Family Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1984
  • Beyond Subjective Morality: Ethical Reasoning and Political Philosophy Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1984
  • Justice Versus Utility Columbia Law Review Fishkin, J. S. 1984; 84 (1): 263-270
  • Defending Equality: The View from the Cave Michigan Law Review Fishkin, J. S. 1984; 82: 755-760
  • The Boundaries of Justice Journal of Conflict Resolution Fishkin, J. S. 1983; 27 (2): 355-75
  • CAN THERE BE A NEUTRAL THEORY OF JUSTICE ETHICS Fishkin, J. S. 1983; 93 (2): 348-356
  • Justice, Equal Opportunity and the Family Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1983
  • Justice Between Generations: The Dilemma of Future Interests Social Justice Fishkin, J. S. edited by Bradie, M., Braybrooke, D. Bowling Green: Philosophy Documentation Center,. 1983
  • The Limits of Obligation Fishkin, J. S. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1983
  • More Democracy? The London Review of Books Fishkin, J. S. 1982; 4 (11)
  • Philosophy, Politics and Society, Fifth Series Fishkin, J. S. edited by Laslett, P. Oxford: Basil Balckwell/New Haven: Yale University Press. 1979
  • Tyranny and Legitimacy: A Critique of Political Theories Fishkin, J. S. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1979
  • MORAL PRINCIPLES AND PUBLIC-POLICY DAEDALUS Fishkin, J. 1979; 108 (4): 55-67
  • JUSTICE AND RATIONALITY - SOME OBJECTIONS TO CENTRAL ARGUMENT IN RAWLS THEORY (Book Review) AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Book Review Authored by: Fishkin, J. 1975; 69 (2): 615-629