Shark Bites

& Public Policy

Analyzing policy responses, media attention, and social discourse following human-shark interactions.

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Research Perspective

Research evidence internationally and my professional experience from the United States and Australia demonstrate that public policies are often made by the powerful to benefit the powerful. My research portfolio is about ensuring the “public” is served by public policy. It comes from years in politics as a staffer, lobbyist, and academic. However, rather than seeing politics as a cynical exercise, I am entirely hopeful. Public policy has changed the world. It can promote policies to help those left behind, bring attention to the invisible, and give power to the powerless. It can inspire citizens to be engaged, shine a light on hidden aspects of the political process, and help hold our political leaders accountable. It can involve stories about an individual’s life experiences and it can highlight quantitative impacts of how real policies impact real people. In short, I am a passionate believer that public policy teaching and research matters.

My personal and professional research focuses on the factors that contribute to policymaking around highly emotional issues and difficult policy questions. In order for public policy to research and tackle the difficult political problems, it is important to understand why certain issues rise on the public agenda and how the nature of a problem informs the ways it is addressed. Examples of this research include policymaking around sexuality and gender identity in the U.S. military, such as the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in the military and separate regulations governing transgender military service. My research also includes analyzing the policy environments and responses to highly charged shark bites and mass shootings.

Welcome to my personal website.

The work and statements here are mine alone and do not represent those of my collaborators or employers. This site is a hub for my research portfolio, public commentary, and personal interests.  If you have any questions about my research please feel free to contact me at:

Christopher Neff

Putting "the public" in public policy research

Twinless Twin Support Research

This research looks at media attention, policy support, and societal engagement on the largely invisible issue of twin loss.

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Emotions & The Policy Process

A central theme within my research is the way emotional issues and situations can place pressures on actors and institutions.

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The central question driving my research here is how LGBTQI rights have transformed from “loser” political issues to “winning” political issues.

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