University of Michigan Professor of Political Science, Jenna Bednar, whose 2008 book, The Robust Federation: Principles of Design (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions), has just been chosen as the 2019 winner of APSA's Martha Derthick Best Book Award. American Political Science Association's Derthick Award is presented to the author of the "best book published at least ten years ago that has made a lasting contribution to the study of federalism and intergovernmental relations."
Here are some of the original blurbs about the book:
"Federalism is increasingly prevalent across the globe as a way for multi-ethnic and multi-regional societies to govern themselves. But what keeps these governments from falling apart, what deters the constituent parts from undermining the whole? Bednar shows how no one institution does the trick, but several - courts, parties, political representation - working together in a complementary and even redundant way can ensure a working federation. Historians, political scientists, legal scholars, and interested policy makers all will learn from this rigorous and thorough work."
- Barry Friedman, School of Law, New York University
"Jenna Bednar synthesizes the best theory and evidence about federal system performance and greatly extends our knowledge. In an era when many problems require large, if not global, scale to solve, Bednar's analysis shows the danger of relying entirely on one scale, the consequent importance of multi-scale systems, and the need for redundancy. She demonstrates that no federal system is robust if it relies on a single remedy against threat. Multiple complementary remedies are required to enable a federal system, or any governance arrangement, to cope with the challenges that strategic individuals and groups are likely to generate."
- Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University
"While a federation may generate great benefits from the cooperation of heterogeneous states, it faces the complex problems of compliance and adaptation. Jenna Bednar has presented us with a deep and wide-ranging analysis of the federal problem, using the analytical tools of political economy to recalibrate Madison's insights into how 'the right combination of institutions could harness self-interest for the common good.' Her theoretical methods will help us understand federal collapse, transformation, or stability, and will change the way we think about the geopolitics of the twenty-first century."
- Norman Schofield, Washington University in St. Louis