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Paul Quirk

Phil Lind Chair in US Politics and Representation, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia

Paul J. Quirk is Phil Lind Chair in U.S. Politics and Representation at the University of British Columbia. After receiving his Ph.D. at Harvard University (1978), he has taught at several U.S. universities, most recently, the University of Illinois, and has been a research associate at the Brookings Institution. A citizen and lifelong resident of the U.S. until he joined the UBC faculty in 2004, he has written on a wide range of topics in American politics, including Congress, the presidency, presidential elections, public opinion, regulatory politics, and public policymaking. He has published in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics, and served on the editorial boards of several major journals. His books are Industry Influence in Federal Regulatory Agencies (Princeton University Press, 1981), The Politics of Deregulation (Brookings Institution, 1985), and Deliberative Choices: Debating Public Policy in Congress (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming). He is coeditor of The Legislative Branch (Oxford University Press, 2005). His awards include the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration and the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Achievement Award of the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association. Professor Quirk is active in the U.S. Studies Program at UBC and is currently chair of the U.S. politics area committee in the graduate program.

Most Recent Posts

Quirk: What impact has Nelson Mandela had on your life?

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December 6, 2013

I grew up and spent a major part of my adult life in the U.S., where the legacy of slavery and apartheid was (and remains) a constant presence. Until my twenties I lived in Cudahy, Wisconsin, a working- and lower-middle class suburb of Milwaukee that, according to reliable reports, had the children of exactly one […]

Quirk: Is Bradley Manning a whistle-blower or a traitor?

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August 2, 2013

If you release a vast amount of information that had been kept secret by a major power for an endless variety of reasons, the consequences are predictably far reaching and mixed: good, bad, and debatable. Some of Bradley Manning’s disclosures have been credited with helping to inspire the Arab Spring – in the long run, […]

The State of Disunion

The State of Disunion

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February 15, 2013

Paul Quirk on what Obama’s State of the Union Address means for Canada – there’s both good news and bad news.

Can They Get Along?

Can They Get Along?

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November 12, 2012

Paul Quirk on the prospects for bipartisan co-operation and competent government in the U.S.

Quirk: Should the Canadian government put a price on carbon?

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October 11, 2012

The comedian David Brenner used to have a remark for people he judged to be egregiously ignorant on some issue: “Read a book!” The implication: “You’re so far off base that just about any book will straighten you out on this matter.” Carbon pricing is like that. But to be slightly more helpful than Brenner, […]

Quirk: Last week, OpenCanada posted its summer reading list. What’s on yours?

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July 25, 2012

For Canadians who follow international affairs closely, no topic is more pertinent than the state of American politics. Think it looks bad? Two leading commentators on American politics are here to explain, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism (Basic Books, 2012). In readable […]

Quirk: Last week, OpenCanada posted its summer reading list. What’s on yours?

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July 25, 2012

For Canadians who follow international affairs closely, no topic is more pertinent than the state of American politics. Think it looks bad? Two leading commentators on American politics are here to explain, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism (Basic Books, 2012). In readable […]

Quirk: Will Obama be successful in convincing Netanyahu not to strike Iran?

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March 5, 2012

In the circumstances, it is difficult for Obama to be very persuasive because he needs to worry about three different audiences for his public positions. He wants Israel to believe that the US would not back up an Israeli attack. But he wants Iran to fear that Israel would have American support and is prepared […]

Quirk: Is North America dead?

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January 30, 2012

North America is not dead. But reports of its existence have been greatly exaggerated. The current period is one of profound uncertainty and yet real opportunity. To address the issues, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of California at Berkeley are sponsoring a series of conferences on “North American Futures.” The first […]

Quirk: Which Republican candidate would be best for Canada?

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January 16, 2012

As a proud new Canadian citizen, I will suggest that the best Republican for Canada’s interests is Mitt Romney, by a furlong.  Any of the Republicans will be better than President Obama–or any other Democrat–on trade.  And any of them will be pro-energy development and, compared with Obama or any other Democrat, more relaxed about […]

Quirk: What is the best international affairs book of 2011?

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December 5, 2011

Here is an un-nomination:  Stephen Clarkson’s Dependent America? How Canada and Mexico Construct US Power(University of Toronto Press, 2011) has received quite a bit of attention in the media and is likely to be esteemed in some quarters.  But it presents a cartoon-like account of North American international relations and is not to be taken seriously. Clarkson’s central puzzle […]

Quirk: If 9/11 defined the last decade, will the Arab Spring define the next?

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September 12, 2011

In a memorable moment in The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg says of some rivals, who were claiming he had stolen their idea, “If they had invented Facebook, they would have invented Facebook.”  I’m inclined to say that if the Arab Spring were another 9-11, then there wasn’t a 9-11.  Events that have such enduring, widespread, and obtrusive consequences […]

Quirk: What societal problems have the London riots exposed?

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August 14, 2011

The riots in London and other UK cities, although shocking, tell us little or nothing about that country’s social problems.  To be sure, those problems are serious and are becoming more severe is this period of economic hardship.  But urban riots are not primarily about protesting social conditions. In an influential 1970 book about urban problems in […]

Quirk: What’s the ultimate objective of Harper’s softer stance on China?

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July 25, 2011

In an old joke, a farmer whacks his supposedly obedient mule over the head with a two-by-four and explains, “First, you have to get his attention.”  Canada needs a strong relationship with China for many reasons, of which only the most obvious is China’s increasing role as a market for Canadian exports.   The interesting question is what […]