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Fay Lomax Cook

Fay Lomax Cook

  • Professor Emeritus, Human Development and Social Policy
  • Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research



Research Interests

The interrelationships between public opinion and social policy; the politics of public policy; the effects of public deliberation on political knowledge and participation; and the dynamics of public support for older Americans.


Fay Lomax Cook is on leave from Northwestern University  at the National Science Foundation (NSF) where she was appointed Assistant Director of NSF and head of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate. At Northwestern, she is Professor of Human Development and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy and faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research. From 1996 to 2012, she was director of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. 

She has been president of the Gerontological Society of America; a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences; a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation; a member of the Expert Panel on Performance Outcome Measurement, U.S. Administration on Aging; a member of the Ford Foundation’s research advisory committee on Social Welfare Policy and the American Future; a scientific consultant to the National Institute on Aging; and a member of the North American Program Committee for the International Congress on Gerontology. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Her research focuses on the interrelationships between public opinion and public policy, the politics of public policy, how Americans come together to discuss policy issues, and the dynamics of public support for Social Security and other social programs. She is the author or co-author of many scholarly articles and book chapters as well as five books, including Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America with Lawrence Jacobs and Michael Delli Carpini (University of Chicago Press, 2009).


  • PhD, Social Welfare Policy, University of Chicago, 1977
  • MA, Social Welfare Policy, University of Chicago, 1972
  • MA, English Literature, University of North Carolina, 1968
  • BA, English, Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, 1965

Selected Publications

Bolsen, Toby, James N. Druckman, and Fay Lomax Cook. (In Press) (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Communication and Collective Actions: A Survey Experiment on Motivating Energy Conservation in the U.S..
Journal of Experimental Political Science.

Cook, Fay Lomax and Rachel L. Moskowitz (2014). The Great Divide: Elite and Mass Opinion about Social Security
in Robert B. Hudson, ed, The New Politics of Old Age Policy Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bolsen, Toby, James N. Druckman, and Fay Lomax Co (2014). The Influence of Partisan Motivated Reasoning on Public Opinion. Political Behavior 36: 235-262.

Bolsen, Toby, James N. Druckman, and Fay Lomax Cook (2014). How Frames Can Undermine Support for Scientific Adaptations: Politicization and the Status Quo Bias. Public Opinion Quarterly 78 (1): 1-26.

Cook, Fay Lomax; Benjamin I. Page; and Rachel L. Moskowitz (2014). Political Engagement by Wealthy Americans.
Political Science Quarterly.

Cook, F. L. (2011). The need for public deliberation: Giving the public a voice on affordable health insurance. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law 36(5): 879-85.

Cook, F.L., L.R Jacobs, and Dukhong Kim (2010). Trusting What You Know: Information, Knowledge, and Confidence in Social Security. Journal of Politics.

Cook, F. L. and M. Czaplewski (2009). Public Opinion and Social Insurance: The American Experience
in  Leah Rogne, Carroll Estes, Brian Grossman, Brooke Hollister, and Erica Solway, Social Insurance and Social Justice: Social Security, Medicare, and the Campaign Against Entitlements Springer Publishing Company.

Jacobs, Lawrence R., Fay Lomax Cook, and Michael X. Delli Carpini (2009).
Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America.. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bolsen, T. and Cook, F.L (2008). Public Opinion on Energy Policy 1974-2006.
Public Opinion Quarterly : 364-388.