Jennifer Widner

Professor of Politics and International Affairs; Director, Innovations for Successful Societies

219 Bendheim Hall
Eleni Koukourdeli
External Website:


  • institutions
  • Comparative Politics
  • Africa
  • development
  • accountability
  • rule of law


Jennifer Widner is Professor of Politics and International Affairs and Director of a research program on institution building and institutional reform called Innovations for Successful Societies.   Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004-5, she taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan.   Her current research focuses on the political economy of institutional reform, government accountability, and service delivery.   She also remains interested in constitution writing, constitutional design, and fair dealing—topics of earlier research. She is author of Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), a study of courts and law in Africa, and she has published articles on a variety of topics in Democratization, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Development Studies, The William & Mary Law Review, Daedalus, the American Journal of International Law, and other publications.   She is completing  a book about making government work in challenging settings, drawing on experiences in Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America.

For more information, visit

Teaching Materials

Politics 366, African Politics 

Politics 572, African Politics (Ph.D.)

Politics 589, State Formation & Regimes (instructor alternates with Carles Boix)

Woodrow Wilson 570, Making Government Work in Hard Places

in some years: Law and Development, Constitutional Design, Comparative Politics