Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Levi, Margaret
Location Stanford University
Primary Field Social and Political Sciences
 Election Citation
In two landmark books, Levi studies the important but elusive concept of legitimacy. In a co-authored volume, she introduced a new research design, "analytic narratives." Her latest book explains why some labor unions promote the welfare of non-members. Levi served as president of the American Political Science Association (2004-2005).
 Research Interests
Margaret Levi attempts to understand the conditions under which individuals act beyond their narrow economic interests in situations where logic suggests that self-interest should triumph. In her research on taxation, conscription, unions, state-building, and supply chains, she finds that leadership, trustworthiness, power and norms complement more conventional accounts emphasizing interests and institutions. She has explored her puzzle across multiple countries, cultures and history using analytic narratives. The narrative elucidates the principal players, their preferences, the key decision points and possibilities, and the rules of the game in a textured and sequenced account; the analytic requires evaluation of the model through comparative statics and the testable implications the model generates. Most recently she has investigated what kinds of governance arrangements make it possible to for leaders to successfully ask members to undertake costly actions in the interest of others. The answer lies in the development of an expanded community of fate, in which individuals understand their own well-being as implicated with that of others beyond their narrow circle of family and tribe. Levi's ultimate aim is to develop a better account of what promotes productive relationships between citizens and their governments.

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