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Professor Bednar's research is on the analysis of institutions, focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of the stability of federal states. Her most recent book, The Robust Federation demonstrates how complementary institutions maintain and adjust the distribution of authority between national and state governments. This book makes two theoretical contributions to the study of federalism's design. First, it shows that distributions suggested by a constitution mean nothing if the governments have no incentive to abide by them, and intergovernmental retaliation tends to be inefficient. The book's second contribution is that while no institutional safeguard is sufficient to improve the union's prosperity, institutions work together to improve compliance with the distribution of authority, thereby boosting the union's performance.
Generally, her work seeks to answer questions such as:
Professor Bednar is also interested in constitutions: specifically, the potential that constitutional design has to affect the behavior of heterogeneous populations with decentralized governmental structures.
Program in International and Comparative Studies
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Ann Arbor, MI