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Jenna Bednar

Jenna Bednar

Political Science
University of Michigan
Fellow, 2021-22

Jenna Bednar will spend her fellowship year focused on a project tentatively titled Governance for Human Flourishing.  This project seeks to understand how to restore the prosocial norms necessary for democracy to thrive.  Through the development of models and analysis of case studies, she will explore the importance of shifting from purely legal or state-based solutions to ones where people participate, as members of a community, in defining goals and pathways, as tracked in four realms: dignity, sustainability, community, and beauty.

Bednar is professor of political science and public policy at the University of Michigan and a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute.  Her research focuses on how collective action builds social goods and the role that government plays in making that collaboration possible. Current work includes: robust system design, especially of federalism; how culture affects the way people respond to laws and norms; and public policy to support human social flourishing. In 2019, her book The Robust Federation: Principles of Design (Cambridge University Press, 2008) was awarded the APSA Martha Derthick Best Book Award in recognition of its enduring contribution to the study of federalism.  In 2020, she was named APSA Daniel Elazar Distinguished Federalism Scholar. 

For more information about her work, please see her website: