Jonathan Rodden

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

Jonathan Rodden is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor in the political science department at Stanford. Rodden was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, 2006–7, and a W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow, 2010–12.

He has written several articles and a pair of books on federalism and fiscal decentralization. His most recent book, Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide (Basic Books, 2019), Rodden demonstrates the left's electoral challenges have deeper roots in economic and political geography. He frequently works with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on issues related to fiscal decentralization.

His research focuses on the comparative political economy of institutions. Rodden 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 in political science 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.

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Recent Commentary

International SecurityFeatured

Changing The Default: The Impact Of Motor-Voter Reform In Colorado

by Justin Grimmer, Jonathan Roddenvia Colorado Secretary of State
Monday, January 31, 2022

Using monthly data from the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles from 2017 to 2021, we study a series of reforms to the voter registration process conducted by the DMV between 2018 and 2020. Consistent with studies in behavioral economics about retirement savings, prior to the reforms, a large majority of unregistered DMV patrons declined the opportunity to register when conducting a transaction.

In the News

How The House Got Stuck At 435 Seats

quoting Jonathan Roddenvia Five Thirty Eight
Thursday, August 12, 2021

After 110 years, a look at the benefits — and drawbacks — to expanding the chamber.

Jonathan Rodden is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a pr
In the News

Amalia Kessler, Jonathan Rodden Awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

featuring Jonathan Roddenvia Stanford Daily
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Seven Stanford faculty members were named 2021 Guggenheim Fellows last month. This honor recognizes those who have “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.” Approximately 3,000 applications are submitted each year for these fellowships spanning across various disciplines and reviewed by experts in each field. 

In the News

Why First-Past-The-Post Steals Elections For Right-Wing Parties – And How To Stop It

quoting Jonathan Roddenvia New Statesman (UK)
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Given a fair chance at the ballot box, British voters would elect more progressive governments.

Analysis and Commentary

Polarised Elections Raise Economic Uncertainty

by Scott R. Baker, Aniket Baksy, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Jonathan Roddenvia (Centre for Economic Policy Research)
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Elections can cause economic uncertainty, especially when elections take place in a politically polarised context. This column studies how national election cycles in 23 countries influence economic policy uncertainty, as measured by the share of newspaper articles that discusses uncertainty and economic policy. Economic policy uncertainty clearly rises in the months leading up to national elections. 


Q&A With Stanford Political Scientist Jonathan Rodden About The Georgia Runoff Elections

interview with Jonathan Roddenvia Stanford News
Monday, December 14, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Jonathan Rodden discusses how Georgia’s electoral dynamics reflect trends in America’s political landscape.

Elections, Political Polarization, and Economic Uncertainty

by Scott R. Baker, Aniket Baksy, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Jonathan Roddenvia Economics Working Papers
Friday, October 9, 2020

Economics Working Paper 20120

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In the News

Americans Are Moving In Droves: Will It Totally Remake The Electoral Map?

quoting Jonathan Roddenvia Hoover Daily Report
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

In just four weeks, voters from all corners of this bitterly divided country will cast their votes for the man who will either become or remain America's next president. Pollsters, pundits, and politicos have obsessed over the ever-shifting electoral map and how a handful of swing counties and states could decide whether President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will be named the nation's commander in chief in what is shaping up to be the most contentious election ever.

In the News

The 2020 US Election, Issues And Challenges

quoting Condoleezza Rice, Jonathan Roddenvia Stanford News
Monday, September 28, 2020

From addressing how to vote safely during a pandemic to tackling disinformation and misinformation on social media, Stanford scholars examine the issues and uncertainties facing American voters as they cast their ballot in November’s general election.

In the News

Trump’s Rural Base In Pennsylvania

quoting Jonathan Roddenvia City Journal
Monday, September 21, 2020

Berks County reflects an overlooked urban-rural trend in politics.