Jonathan Rodden is a professor in the political science department at Stanford who works on the comparative political economy of institutions. He has written several articles and a pair of books on federalism and fiscal decentralization. His most recent book, Hamilton’s Paradox: The Promise and Peril of Fiscal Federalism, was the recipient of the Gregory Luebbert Prize for the best book in comparative politics in 2007. He frequently works with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on issues related to fiscal decentralization.

He has also written papers on the geographic distribution of political preferences within countries, legislative bargaining, the distribution of budgetary transfers across regions, and the historical origins of political institutions. He is currently writing a series of articles and a book on political geography and the drawing of electoral districts around the world.

Rodden received his PhD from Yale University and his BA from the University of Michigan, and was a Fulbright student at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 2007, he was the Ford Associate Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Other Affiliation:
Director of the Spatial Social Science Lab at Stanford

Academic Appointments

2019-20 Courses

Stanford Advisees

  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Hans Lueders, William Marble, Christiana Parreira, Luis Rodriguez, Eunhou Song, Emily Zhang
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Cole Tanigawa-Lau

All Publications

  • Why Has US Policy Uncertainty Risen Since 1960? AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW Baker, S. R., Bloom, N., Canes-Wrone, B., Davis, S. J., Rodden, J. 2014; 104 (5): 56-60
  • Unintentional Gerrymandering: Political Geography and Electoral Bias in Legislatures QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Chen, J., Rodden, J. 2013; 8 (3): 239-269
  • How Should We Measure District-Level Public Opinion on Individual Issues? JOURNAL OF POLITICS Warshaw, C., Rodden, J. 2012; 74 (1): 203-219
  • Dual accountability and the nationalization of party competition: Evidence from four federations PARTY POLITICS Rodden, J., Wibbels, E. 2011; 17 (5): 629-653
  • Representation and redistribution in federations PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Dragu, T., Rodden, J. 2011; 108 (21): 8601-8604


    Many of the world's most populous democracies are political unions composed of states or provinces that are unequally represented in the national legislature. Scattered empirical studies, most of them focusing on the United States, have discovered that overrepresented states appear to receive larger shares of the national budget. Although this relationship is typically attributed to bargaining advantages associated with greater legislative representation, an important threat to empirical identification stems from the fact that the representation scheme was chosen by the provinces. Thus, it is possible that representation and fiscal transfers are both determined by other characteristics of the provinces in a specific country. To obtain an improved estimate of the relationship between representation and redistribution, we collect and analyze provincial-level data from nine federations over several decades, taking advantage of the historical process through which federations formed and expanded. Controlling for a variety of country- and province-level factors and using a variety of estimation techniques, we show that overrepresented provinces in political unions around the world are rather dramatically favored in the distribution of resources.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1019061108

    View details for Web of Science ID 000290908000022

    View details for PubMedID 21555553

  • The Geographic Distribution of Political Preferences ANNUAL REVIEW OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, VOL 13 Rodden, J. 2010; 13: 321-340
  • The strength of issues: Using multiple measures to gauge preference stability, ideological constraint, and issue voting AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Ansolabehere, S., Rodden, J., Snyder, J. M. 2008; 102 (2): 215-232
  • Does religion distract the poor? Income and issue voting around the world COMPARATIVE POLITICAL STUDIES De La O, A. L., Rodden, J. A. 2008; 41 (4-5): 437-476