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Biographical note

Alasdair Roberts is a professor of public policy at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  In 2022-23, he is also the Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar at the Canada School of Public Service and a visiting professor at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University.

Professor Roberts writes extensively on problems of governance, law and public policy.  His latest book, Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century, was published by Polity in January 2023.  His previous book, Strategies for Governing, was published by Cornell University Press in 2020.  It received the best book award from the ASPA Section on Public Administration Research in 2021.

His other books include: Can Government Do Anything Right? (Polity Books, 2018); Four Crises of American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2017);  The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent, (Cornell University Press, 2013); America’s First Great Depression (Cornell University Press, 2012);  The Logic of Discipline: Global Capitalism and the Architecture of Government (Oxford University Press, 2010), which received an honorable mention from the Best Book award committee of the American Society of Public Administration’s Section on Public Administration Research; and The Collapse of Fortress Bush: The Crisis of Authority in American Government (New York University Press, 2008).  Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, received the Brownlow Book Award from the US National Academy of Public Administration, and three other academic book awards.  Professor Roberts has also won several awards for his journal articles.

In 2007, Professor Roberts became the first non-US citizen to be elected as a Fellow of the US National Academy of Public Administration. In 2022, he received the Riggs Award for Lifetime Achievement in International and Comparative Public Administration.  In 2014 he received the Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award for his research on open government.  From 2009 to 2017, he was co-editor of the journal Governance.  He serves on the editorial boards of several other journals in the field of public administration.  He serves on the Accreditation Board of the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration from 2022 to 2024.

Professor Roberts was a member of the public administration faculty of Queen’s University in Canada from 1990 to 2001, and of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University from 2001 to 2008. He was the Jerome L. Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University from 2008 to 2014, and a professor of public affairs, political science, and law at the University of Missouri from 2015 to 2017.  He was Inaugural Director of the School of Public Policy at University of Massachusetts Amherst from 2017 to 2022.

Professor Roberts received a JD from the University of Toronto in 1984, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1994.

His web address is

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