representative government
individual liberty
free markets
private enterprise

Report 2004: Institutional and Individual Research

The principles of individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government were fundamental to the vision of Herbert Hoover, the Hoover Institution’s founder. By collecting knowledge, generating ideas, and disseminating both, the Institution seeks to secure and safeguard peace, improve the human condition, and limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals, all of which are consistent with the three prominent values specified in the Hoover Institution mission statement: peace, personal freedom, and safeguarding the American system.

The Institution’s overarching purposes are to collect requisite sources of knowledge pertaining to economic, political, and social changes in societies at home and abroad, as well as to understand their causes and consequences; to analyze the effects of government actions as they relate to public policy; to generate, publish, and disseminate ideas that encourage positive policy formation; to convey to the public, the media, lawmakers, and others an understanding of important policy issues; and to promote vigorous dialogue.

Shirin Ebadi, John Raisian, Abbas Milani

At the Hoover Institution’s conference on “Politics, Society, and Economy in a Changing Iran,” held in May 2004, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi gave the keynote address. She is shown here with Hoover Institution director John Raisian (right) and recently appointed research fellow Abbas Milani (left), a coordinator of the conference.

The strength of Hoover’s research program lies in recruiting scholars of exceptional ability, typically within the traditional disciplines of economics, history, legal studies, and political science. Those scholars’ distinction is exemplified by their having been elected to such academic honor societies as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Education, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences and by their receiving the Nobel Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, and other prestigious awards.

Resident fellows are the foundation of the research program; among the very best scholars and policy analysts in their fields, many also hold appointments to the Stanford faculty. Affiliated fellows — scholars from other research institutions and universities — offer expertise that complements, strengthens, and adds depth to that of the resident fellows. Visiting fellows include a wide variety of U.S. and foreign scholars, diplomats, government officials, and other distinguished visitors who bring with them a continual influx of expertise and ideas.

This remarkably varied and distinguished community of scholars strives to conceive and disseminate ideas defining a free society within the framework of seven institutional initiatives. Substantial financial and intellectual resources are directed to activities consistent with these seven multiyear projects, which complement Hoover fellows’ individual research agendas and enable Hoover fellows and other scholars to concentrate on specific and important topics pertaining to the Institution’s mission. The result is increased output in the form of institutional book projects, conferences, and forums that augment the scholarship originating from Hoover scholars’ individual research.

Described below are the seven initiatives currently under way. Included are examples of the product emanating from institutional projects as well as scholarship resulting from Hoover fellows’ individual research agendas.