Justin de Benedictis-Kessner Photo
Associate Professor of Public Policy

Justin de Benedictis-Kessner is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His current research focuses on some of the most important policy areas that concern local governments, such as housing, transportation, policing, and economic development. His research also examines how citizens hold elected officials accountable, how representation translates the public's interests into policy via elections, and how people’s policy opinions are formed and swayed.

He teaches in the MPP program on politics and ethics, and also leads elective courses on urban politics and policy, including an experiential field lab that partners student teams with cities and towns to work on applied urban policy problems.

His work has received the Clarence Stone Emerging Scholar Award and the Norton Long Young Scholar Award from the American Political Science Association, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has also received funding for this research from the MIT Election Data + Science Lab, Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Boston Area Research Initiative. Prior to joining Harvard, he was an assistant professor at Boston University, and before that a postdoctoral researcher at the Boston Area Research Initiative. He received his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.A. in Government and Psychology from the College of William & Mary.

Additional information can be found on his website.

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series

Research Papers/Reports

Transparent Engagement 

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School. The activities disclosed below are for the most recent reporting period, as defined by University policy. Some may be paid, some may be unpaid, and others may be in exchange for expense reimbursement only.

Outside Professional Activities For Justin de Benedictis-Kessner

Organization Relationship
City of Cambridge Consulting
City of Berkeley Consulting
VRX Consulting Consulting


Cities & Communities
Democracy & Governance

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138