Department of Political Science and the College
Elizabeth Maggie Penn is a formal political theorist whose research develops mathematical models of collective choice, group formation, and identity. Her current work examines how the design of political institutions, such as power-sharing arrangements, can affect the ability of groups to peaceably co-exist and to meaningfully communicate with one another. Other recent projects focus on the role of information in determining the size and structure of political networks, and on the development of group norms and values.
Penn co-authored (with John Patty, also of the University of Chicago) Social Choice and Legitimacy: The Possibilities of Impossibility (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Her research has also appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Mathematical and Computer Modelling, Political Analysis, Political Science Research and Methods, PS: Political Science and Politics, Public Choice, The Good Society, and Complexity. She was recently appointed managing editor of Social Choice and Welfare.
She received a BA in economics and applied mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in social science from the California Institute of Technology. She was previously a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon and Harvard Universities, and most recently at Washington University in St. Louis.