Donald John Roberts

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Donald John "John" Roberts (born February 11, 1945 in Winnipeg, Canada) is a Canadian-American economist. He is currently the John H. and Irene S. Scully Professor of Economics, Strategic Management and International Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). He has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1980. He was a senior associate dean of the GSB in charge of external relations and executive education from 2000 to 2008, and from 1980 until 2001 he held the Jonathan B. Lovelace Professorship at the school. He also is a professor (by courtesy) in the Department of Economics at Stanford, and he directs the Global Management Program and the Center for Global Business and the Economy at the GSB.[1] He was the doctoral thesis advisor for several well known economists, notably John Bates Clark Medal winner Susan Athey.


Roberts was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 11, 1945. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Manitoba in 1967 and his doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1972. He taught at Northwestern University from 1971 until coming to Stanford in 1980.

Experience and Research[edit]

Roberts' current research focuses on the design, governance and management of organizations, especially in an international context. He also has published extensively on industrial competition and the influence of differences in information among parties on strategic behavior. With Paul Milgrom he was instrumental in introducing the use of games of incomplete information into economic modeling and also with bringing the methods of lattice programming into the study of monotone comparative statics in economic analysis. Most recently, he has been involved in two path-breaking controlled experiments in large firms examining the effects of changing management practices. One study involves Indian cotton weaving firms. The other involves a large Chinese service company.

Roberts is a fellow and former council member of the Econometric Society[2] and he has served on the editorial boards of multiple economics journals. He is the author of more than 70 scholarly articles and co-author of the first textbook on the economics of organization and management. In 2004, The Economist named his book The Modern Firm the year's best business book.[3] In 2002, Roberts received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the GSB's Sloan Master's Program and in 2005 he received the school's Robert T. Davis Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[4] and received a Doctor of Laws degree (honoris causa) from the University of Winnipeg in 2007.[5]

Roberts is married and has three children.


  1. ^ "Faculty profile - John Roberts". Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  2. ^ "Past Officers and Council". Econometric Society. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  3. ^ "The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth". Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  4. ^ "Alphabetical List of Active Members" (pdf). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  5. ^ "CITATION: John Roberts, BA (Honours), PhD". University of Winnipeg. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  • Roberts, John (July 1986), "Large economies", in David M. Kreps; John Roberts; Robert B. Wilson, Contributions to the New Palgrave, Research paper 892, Palo Alto, CA: Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, pp. 30–35, (Draft of articles for the first edition of New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics), retrieved 7 February 2011