Professor Bednar's research is on the analysis of institutions, focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of the stability of federal states. Her models seek to answer questions such as: Why does the federal government take advantage of state governments? Why are some federations stable, despite frequent episodes of intergovernmental tension? and Can the court effectively referee federalism disputes if it makes mistakes or is biased in favor of one goverment? She is also interested in constitutions: specifically, the potential that constitutional design has to affect the behavior of heterogeneous populations with decentralized governmental structures.