Jennifer A. Widner

Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School
Director, Bobst Center for Peace and Justice

Affiliated Faculty

 441 Robertson Hall

 Curriculum Vitae





Jennifer Widner is Professor of Politics and International Affairs and Director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace & Justice. Professor Widner holds a degree in international management and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004-5, she taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on problems of democratization, law, and development, with special attention to sub-Saharan Africa. Her most recent book is Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), a study of courts and law in Africa and other developing country contexts. She has published articles on a variety of topics in Democratization, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Development Studies, Current History, Daedalus, the American Journal of International Law, and other publications. She is currently completing a global project on constitution writing and conflict resolution and launching a project on cross-cultural variation in standards of good faith and fair dealing.


Constitution Writing and Conflict Resolution is a cross-national study of the influence of drafting procedures on the levels of conflict that prevail in the years after new constitutions are negotiated. The focus is on the 194 constitutions drafted in the context of violence during the past 35 years. The project generates several new databases and aims to develop techniques for distinguishing some of the effects of procedural choice (including the form of public participation, voting rules, etc.) from the influence of substantive terms and underlying characteristics.


Fair Dealing/Good Faith asks what explains change in our norms of good faith and fair dealing in a variety of settings. Why does "caveat emptor" prevail in some cultures and transactions, but not in others? How much of the variation can be explained by inequality in economic power or information among parties versus degree of reliance on markets or different underlying cultural contexts? How are international institutions altering norms and are they producing convergence?