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Papers of Robert A. Young

Identifier: WRAY

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Robert A. Young consists of documents dated 1965 to 2009, with the bulk falling from 1978 to 1996. The collection primarily contains articles, books, and reports Young authored, along with correspondence, notes, lectures, presentations, and biographical material. The “Bio Bib” (biography/bibliography) folders are annual compilations of Young's publications, conferences attended, and other professional activities, though they may not be comprehensive. Subject coverage focuses broadly on water economics and policy and more particularly on irrigation, water quality, groundwater, and urban water. In addition to the western United States, Young studied related issues in Pakistan and Egypt. With a few exceptions, Young's teaching, committee work, and consulting activities are not documented here.


  • Creation: 1965-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1978-1996


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Agricultural economist Bob Young was a professor at Colorado State University (CSU) who offered insightful analysis related to water management and policy. He published extensively about economics as related especially to water issues in Colorado, the western United States, and the world, including a textbook, Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods (2005).

Robert Alton Young was born in 1931 in Minden, Nebraska, and his family moved to California when he was eight. In his youth, he was involved in his local agricultural community through 4-H. He attended the University of California, Davis, earning bachelor degrees in animal science (1954) and agricultural economics (1958). He then spent two years in the U.S. Army and afterward married Lynn, who would be his wife for 55 years.

Young earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Michigan State University in 1963. Later that year, he began his career as a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arizona. In 1968, after co-authoring a controversial paper about the Central Arizona Project, he went to Washington, D.C., to be a visiting scholar at Resources for the Future.

In 1970, Young began his career at CSU as a professor in the Department of Economics and later moved to the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He taught classes related to his areas of expertise and published widely. His research focus was natural resource and agricultural economics with an emphasis on water and environment as related to agriculture, including water allocation, water quality, river basin planning, water valuation, management, irrigation economics, and agricultural production economics.

Young was unafraid of controversy and often took unpopular positions, relying on his economic point of view in debates over water issues in the western U.S. He challenged colleagues in his field, starting important conversations about economic evidence and analyzing data with integrity. Young received several awards for his research and service, including the Warren A. Hall Medal from the Universities Council on Water Resources and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Western Agricultural Economics Association, both in 2004. He was a member of many economics, agricultural, and water resources associations.

After retirement from CSU in 1992, Young worked as a private consultant, including with developing countries on water policy. Young passed away on July 17, 2013. Young and his wife, Lynn, had three sons, Wes, Doug, and Brian, and two daughters, Kathy and Kristi.


4.5 linear feet (3 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Agricultural economist Robert A. Young (1931-2013) was a professor at Colorado State University (CSU) who offered insightful analysis related to water management and policy. He published extensively about economics as related especially to water issues in Colorado, the western United States, and the world. The collection consists mainly of his research, publications, and presentations.


The collection was arranged to have folders of biographical material in chronological order followed by Young's publications in chronological order with undated items last. Some presentations are mixed in. At the end are folders of committee work, proposals, or materials not by Young.

The collection consists of 1 series in 3 boxes:

Series 1: Papers, 1965-2009 and undated


The Papers of Robert A. Young was donated to the Water Resources Archive by Lynn Young in November 2013 and June 2014.

Related Collections

Collections of fellow economists in the Water Resources Archive include the Papers of Charles W. Howe and the Papers of Raymond L. Anderson.


Processing was completed in November 2018. Paper clips and duplicate copies were removed. Materials were rearranged by groupings into chronological order. Loose papers were inserted in acid-free folders and all material was reboxed in acid-free boxes.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by thephrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of each copy.

Guide to the Papers of Robert A. Young
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Demi R. Ball and Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA