Robert Young (1950 - 2017)

Professor EmeritusBobYoung

D. Phil, Oxford University

Research Interests

Professor Young is interested in multilevel governance, primarily in Canada, which he takes to be Canadian federalism pressed downward to the municipal level and outward to civil-society actors. He is also coming back to a longstanding interest in secession.

Current Research Projects

For some time Professor Young has been leading a very large research project on multilevel governance and public policy in Canadian municipalities.  This focuses on explaining the public policies that exist in municipal space as a function of the intergovernmental relations through which they were produced and the involvement of various social forces in their planning and implementation.  The research results are being published in a series, Fields of Governance, by McGill-Queen’s University Press.  He is the series editor. He is following the secession debates in Quebec, Catalonia, and especially Scotland.

Selected Publications


  • 2012:Jean Harvey and Robert Young, eds., Image-Building in Canadian Municipalities (Montreal & Kingston:  MeGill-Queen's University Press). 
  • 2012: Sites of Governance:  Multilevel Governance and Policy Making in Canada’s Big Cities, ed. with Martin Horak (Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press).
  • 2011: Immigrant Settlement Policy in Canadian Municipalities, ed. with Erin Tolley (Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press).
  • 2009: Foundations of Governance:  Municipal Governments in Canada’s Provinces, ed. with Andrew Sancton (Toronto:  University of Toronto Press).
  • 1998: The Struggle for Quebec (Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press).

Refereed Journal Articles

  • 2013: Robert Young, 'La Gouvernance Multiniveau et les Politiques Publiques au Sein des Municipalites du Canada:  Reddition de Comptes et Efficacite, Telescope:  Revue d'analyuse compare en administration publique, val. 19, no.1 (June), 25-42.
  • 2009: Robert Young and Kelly McCarthy, "Why do Municipal Issues Rise on the Federal Policy Agenda in Canada?" Canadian Public Administration, 52:3, 347-70.

Book Chapters

  • 2012: Robert Young, "Conclusion" in Jean Harvey and Robert Young, eds., Image-Building in Canadian Municipalities (Montreal & Kingston:  MeGill-Queen's University Press), pp167-96.
  • 2012: Robert Young, "Conclusion" in Fields of Governance Series, MeGill-Queen's University Press. Evelyn J. Peters, ed., Urban Aboriginal Policy Making in Canadian Municipalities (Montreal & Kingston:  MeGill-Queen's University Press). pp 202-28.
  • 2012: Robert Young, ‘Introduction,’ in Sites of Governance:  Multilevel Governance and Policy Making in Canada’s Big Cities, ed. with Martin Horak (Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press),  pp3-25.
  • 2011: Robert Young, ‘The Federal Role in Canada’s Cities: The Pendulum Swings Again,’ in Thomas J. Courchene, John R. Allan, Christian Leuprecht and Nadia Verrelli, eds., The Federal Idea:  Essays in Honour of Ronald L. Watts, (Montreal & Kingston:Institute of Intergovernmental Relations and McGill-Queen’s University Press), 313-22.
  • 2011: Robert Young, ‘How Do Peaceful Secessions Happen?’, in John Kincaid, ed., Federalism, Vol. 4, Fiscal Features, Federal Failures and the Future of Federalism (London: SAGE), 217-36 [reprinted from the Canadian Journal of Political Science, 28:4 (Dec. 1994), 773-92)
  • 2011: Robert Young, ‘Foundations of Governance:  Municipal Government,’ in Roberto P. Leone and Frank L.K. Ohemang, eds., Approaching Public Administration:  Core Debates and Emerging Issues (Toronto:  Emond Montgomery Publications), 319-24 [adapted from ‘Conclusion’ to Foundations of Governance below].
  • 2011: Robert Young, ‘Conclusion,’ in Tolley and Young, Immigrant Settlement Policy  in Canadian Municipalities, ed. with Erin Tolley (Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press), 295-320.
  • 2010: Robert Young with David Laidler, ‘What is Good Government?  David Laidler’s Views’, in Robert Leeson, ed., David Laidler’s Contributions to Economics (London: Palgrave McMillan), 93-113.
  • 2009: Robert Young, 'Conclusion,' in Sancton and Young, eds, Foundations of Governance: Municipal Government in Canada's Provinces (Toronto University of Toronto Press and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada), 487-99.
  • 2009: Robert Young, 'Canada' in Nico Steytler and John Kincaid, eds, Local Government and Metropolitan Regions in Federal Systems,  A Global Dialogue on Federalism, Volume VI (Montreal and Kingston:  McGill-Queen's University Press for Forum of Federations and International Association of Centers for Federal Studies), 104-35.
  • 2007: R.A. Young. 'Canada: A Creaking System,' in Raoul Blindenbacher and Chandra Pasma, eds., Dialogues on Local Government and Metropolitan Regions in Federal Countries, A Global Dialogue on Federalism Booklet Series, Volume 6 (Ottawa: Forum of Federations and International Association of Centers for Federal Studies), 18-20.
  • 2006: R.A. Young. "Qu'est-ce Qu'un "Bon" Gouvernement?' in Francois Pétry, Éric Bélanger and Louis M. Imbeau, eds., Le Parti Liberal: Enquête sur les réalisations du gouvernement Charest (Québec:  Les Presses de l'Université Laval), 401-13.
  • 2006: R.A. Young. "Open Federalism and Canadian Municipalities," in Keith G. Banting, Roger Gibbins, Peter M. Leslie, Alain Noel, Richard Simeon and Robert Young, Open Federalism: Interpretations, Significance (Kingston:  Institute of Intergovernmental Relations), 7-24.

Recent Conference Presentations

  • 2013: 'Multilevel Governance  and Public Policy in Canadian  Municipalities:   Research Results,'  CPSA annual meeting, Victoria, June 6.
  • 2013: 'Attitude  Formation  and Independence,'  presented  to the Economic  and Social Research Council Conference on the Future of the UK and Scotland, Edinburgh, May 2.
  • 2013: 'The Governance of the Toronto City-Region,' presented to the lnternational Workshop on Governance of Megacity Regions, Mumbai, February 5.
  • 2012: 'Secession in Quebec and in General,' presented to the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Autonomous University of Madrid, October 18.
  • 2012: ‘Policy Fields,’ presented at the roundtable on ‘Multilevel Governance in Canada:  Policy-making and Policy in Canadian Municipalities,’ CPSA, Edmonton, June 14.
  • 2012: ‘Multilevel Governance and Policy Change in Canadian Cities,’ presented to the Comparative Symposium on Policy Change in Complex Urban Systems, Center for Urban and Regional Studies, UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 30-31.
  • 2011: ‘The Changing Federal Environment:  Initial Observations,’ presented to the 2011 State of the Federation conference on “The Changing Federal Environment:  Rebalancing Roles?”  Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, Montreal, December 1-3.
  • 2011: ‘Multilevel Governance:  a Canadian Perspective,’ presented to the Conference on Centre and Periphery in a Federated Structure:  Canada and the European Union, European Union Centre of Excellence, York University, September 24-5.
  • 2011: ‘Multilevel governance in policy fields in Canada,’ talk on panel on Multilevel Governance in Canada:  Constitutional Rights and Power Shifts, APSA, Seattle, September 1.
  • 2011: ‘Canada-Quebec : The System of Associated States,’ presented to the Workshop on ‘Thinking Canada with or without Quebec/Penser le Canada avec ou sans le Québec’, Roundtable, Canadian Political Science Association annual meetings, Waterloo, May 18.
  • 2011: ‘Québec-Canada:  le système des états-associés’, presented to the seminar on ‘Des règles communes pour les communautés au Canada :  pari impossible?’, Institut des Amériques, Paris, May 5-6.
  • 2011: ‘Political Support for Type II Governments:  Politicians and Public Health Units in Ontario (with Elaine Reddick), European Public Choice Society, Rennes, April 29.
  • 2010: ‘Large-Scale Comparative Research:  Practical Lessons and Preliminary Results’, presented to the Workshop on Comparative Urban Research:  Prospects and Challenges in a Comparative Approach, Washington, September 1.
  • 2010: 'Recherche comparée à grande échelle: leçons pratiques et résultats préliminaires,' presented to the Atelier:  La comparaison mise en oeuvre, ForumVilles-Régions-Monde, INRS-UCS, Montreal, May 21.
  • 2009: 'The Canadian Stimulus Package and the Provinces,' presented to the Panel on Subnational Governments and the Stimulus Package in the United States and Canada, American Political Science Association annual meeting, Toronto, September 4.
  • 2009: Panellist, Panel on New IPAC Research on Public Administration, 'Foundations of Governance.'  Annual Meeting, Institute of Public Administration of Canada, Ottawa, August 24-26.
  • 2009: 'Multilevel Governance:  Benefits and Drawbacks,' presented to the Workshop on Cities and Multilevel Governance B American and Canadian Perspectives, panel on Reflections on Multilevel Governance in North American Cities, Canadian Political Science Association, Ottawa, May 27.
  • 2009: 'Why Does a Federal Government Intrude into Fields of Provincial Jurisdiction?  The Rise of Urban Issues on the Federal Policy Agenda in Canada,' presented to the Annual Meeting, Public Choice Society, Las Vegas, March 8.
  • 2008: ‘Multilevel Governance: Benefits, Costs, Possibilities,' presented to the annual conference of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, Quebec City, August 29.
  • 2008: 'Exploring Public Policy in Municipalities: A Large Research Project,' presented to the Conference on Making Greater Vancouver a World City: Policy and Governance Challenges for British Columbia, Vancouver, June 19.

Awards and Distinctions

  • 2003-2017: Canada Research Chair in Multilevel Governance, (renewed 2010).
  • 2005-Present: Canada Research Chairs, College of Reviewers.
  • 2007: W.S. MacNutt Memorial Lecturer, University of New Brunswick.
  • 2003-2004: President, Canadian Political Science Association.
  • 2003: Ontario Distinguished Researcher Award.
  • 2000: Donald C. McDonald Lecturer in Constitutional Studies, Faculty of Law, University of  Alberta.
  • 1995-1996: Douglas Purvis Memorial Prize - Best work in Canadian Economic Policy.
  • 1990-1991: Faculty of Social Science, UWO, Research Professor.
  • 1988: CHR Prize - best article in the Canadian Historical Review.