Patrick S. Roberts

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Patrick S. Roberts is a senior political scientist at RAND with a focus on public management and governance processes, and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He has substantive expertise in homeland security, intelligence and national security, cybersecurity, disaster riskand emergency management. His work helps organizations improve decisionmaking through collaborative and evidence-based processes and navigate risk under conditions of uncertainty.

Roberts is the author of Disasters and the American State: How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Public Prepare for the Unexpected (Cambridge, 2013). He has published in a variety of scholarly and popular journals. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Naval Laboratories, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Social Science Research Council. He serves on the editorial board of Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy. 

He has served as a senior foreign policy advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, funded by a Council on Foreign Relations Stanton International Affairs Fellowship. He has also been the Ghaemian Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Heidelberg Center for American Studies in Germany. 

Roberts holds a Ph.D. in government from the University of Virginia. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow, one at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and another at the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University.


Ph.D. in government, University of Virginia; M.A. in political science, Claremont Graduate University; B.A. in politics, University of Dallas



Selected Work

  • Patrick S. Roberts, Disasters and the American State: How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Public Prepare for the Unexpected, Cambridge University Press, 2013
  • Rosas, Etienne, Patrick S. Roberts, Andrew Lauland, Italo A. Gutierrez, and Blas Nuñez-Neto, "Assessing the impact of municipal government capacity on recovery from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico," International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 61, 2021
  • Misra, Shalini, Matthew Rhodes, and Patrick Roberts, "The Ecology of Emergency Management Work in the Digital Age," Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, 3(5), 2020
  • Kris Wernstedt, Patrick S. Roberts, Joseph Arvai, and Kelly Redmond, "How Emergency Managers (Mis?)Interpret Forecasts," Disasters , 43(1), 2019
  • Patrick S. Roberts and Jon Schmid, "Government‐led innovation acceleration: Case studies of US federal government innovation and technology acceleration organizations," Review of Policy Research, 39, 2022
  • Patrick S. Roberts and Robert P. Saldin, "Why Presidents Sometimes Do Not Use Intelligence Information," Political Science Quarterly, 131(4), 2017
  • Misra, Shalini, Patrick Roberts, and Matthew Rhodes, "Information Overload, Stress, and Emergency Managerial Thinking," International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 51, 2020

Authored by Patrick S. Roberts

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