The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Alasdair Roberts

headshot of Al Roberts 2018
Professor of Public Policy


710 Thompson Hall

Alasdair Roberts is a professor of public policy at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Professor Roberts writes extensively on problems of governance and public policy. His most recent book, Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century, was published by Polity Books in 2023. His previous book, Strategies for Governing: Reinventing Public Administration for a Dangerous Century, was published by Cornell University Press in 2019, and received the best book award from the ASPA Section on Public Administration Research. Eight earlier books have received four book awards.

Professor Roberts is the first non-US citizen to be elected as a Fellow of the US National Academy of Public Administration. In 2022, he received the ASPA Riggs Award for Lifetime Achievement in International and Comparative Public Administration. In 2014 he received Canada's Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award for his research on the right to information. From 2009 to 2017, he was co-editor of the journal Governance. He was Inaugural Director of the School of Public Policy at University of Massachusetts Amherst from 2017 to 2022. In 2022-23, he was the Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar at the Canada School of Public Service.

Professor Roberts has held tenured faculty appointments at Queen's University, Syracuse University, Suffolk University Law School, and the University of Missouri. He received his BA from Queen's University, his JD from the University of Toronto, and his MPP and PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University. He grew up in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada.

His website is

Research interests: 

Governance, law, public policy