private enterprise
individual liberty
representative government
free markets

2010 Report: Institutional and Individual Research

Fundamental to the Hoover Institution’s mission are the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government. 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.

Click the links below to view a slide show of Hoover events and visitors for that year:

The Hoover Institution stands out with its assemblage of exceptional intellectual talent in matters of public policy within one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions, Stanford University.

Hoover prides itself on having the perspectives of both analytic scholarship and historical knowledge. The scholars at Hoover specialize in generating ideas defining a free society and in educating, as well as spreading those ideas widely to a broad and interested public, including government leaders, the media, and other members of the intelligentsia about public policies pertaining to peace and prosperity. Currently engaged in both high-quality and high-quantity research, Hoover scholars regularly participate in various ongoing public policy dialogues, including appearing on television and radio programs and testifying at government hearings, as well as producing an impressive body of books, op-eds and articles, research papers and essays, and web-based writings.

To fulfill the Institution’s objectives of contributing to the public debate and speaking to policies that will chart a course toward national prosperity and security, Hoover convenes the best available minds to analyze society’s most challenging problems so as to inform both the national leadership and the society at large. The strength of Hoover’s research programs lies in our fellows, who strive to address the “big picture,” offering ideas having broad, sweeping applications and internally consistent implications.

A number of prestigious awards and honors have been bestowed on Hoover fellows throughout the years, including such accolades as the Nobel Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Humanities Medal, and the Bradley Prize. In addition, many Hoover fellows are involved in a number of honor societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Econometric Society, National Academy of Education, and National Academy of Sciences.

Gary Becker (left) and Victor Davis Hanson, 2008 Bradley Prize recipients Image credit: Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
In June 2008, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation awarded two of its four 2008 Bradley Prizes to Gary Becker, the Rose-Marie and Jack Anderson Senior Fellow (left), and Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The Bradley Prizes, awarded annually, are given to prominent scholars and engaged citizens for outstanding achievement.

At the Hoover Institution exceptional ideas are applied to current issues, with novel applications that utilize the unique strengths of our fellows to make an impact on today’s policy discussions. As Thomas Jefferson said, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Thus, Hoover will continue to apply its thinking, based on long-standing principles, to adapt to changing societal circumstances.

Working Groups and Task Forces

During the years, Hoover fellows have focused their research and writing on a breadth of topics that includes individual freedom and the rule of law, American individualism and societal values, democratic capitalism and economic/political collectivism, as well as national priorities and international rivalries/global cooperation. The Institution also aggressively pursues policies that seek to enhance economic prosperity, fiscal integrity, educational excellence, and national security.

Embracing these themes, in recent years the Institution has developed a research methodology that synthesizes current thinking, offers new perspectives, and conveys the results to a broad constituency. The ten scholarly teams—working groups and task forces—were designed to focus on prevailing policy issues within the Institution’s research priorities and thus engage the national dialogue.

Leveraging the scholarly and administrative assets already in place at Hoover, these teams are organized as “virtual faculties,” consisting of Hoover fellows and scholars from Stanford University, as well as other leading universities and research organizations, all of whom work on jointly defined topics and projects.

The ten teams examine the economic, political, legal, and historical dimensions of a broad set of policy issues. Three teams are based on academic disciplines, mainly economics, politics and law, and history. Three teams specifically focus on health care, energy, and education. Two additional teams are concerned with radicalism in cultures different from our own, national security issues, and a new international order in the aftermath of 9/11. The remaining two teams focus on the foundations of our nation pertaining to property rights and the virtues of a free society in relation to our distinctly American way of life.

The teams are formed and engaged, with each having a role to play at a critical juncture in the American experience. The flow of books, essays, op-eds, blogs, testimony, media appearances, and other writings is at an all-time high. Since 2007, when many of these teams were launched, nearly forty books and essays have been published by group members, with another forty projects expected to be completed in the coming two years.

Working Groups and Task Force Descriptions

Critical Junctures in American Government and Politics examines the governmental and political changes set in motion by the 2008 elections. Political scientists and historians assess the unfolding policy agendas of the legislative process, the politics of policy, and the growth of the administrative state.

Working Group on Economic Policy conducts research on current financial conditions as well as prevailing economic policies and issues, including domestic and global monetary, fiscal, and regulatory policies. Ideas exploring the market and government dimensions of solutions are promoted when the goal is increasing the extent and breadth of national and global prosperity.

Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy gathers comprehensive information on current scientific and technological developments in energy production, distribution, and use. Findings inform and guide policy prescriptions that address the economic, environmental, and national security threats of foreign oil dependence, taking into account cost, competitiveness, and marketplace efficiency.

Working Group on Health Care Policy devises public policies that enable more Americans to get better value for their health care dollar and foster appropriate innovation that extends and improves life. Key principles that guide policy formation include the central role of individual choice and competitive markets in financing and delivering health services, individual responsibility for health behaviors and decisions, and appropriate guidelines for government intervention in health care markets.

Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order seeks to reverse Islamic radicalism through reforming and strengthening the legitimate role of the state across the entire Muslim world. Efforts draw on the intellectual resources of an array of scholars and practitioners, from within the United States and abroad, to foster the pursuit of modernity, human flourishing, and the rule of law and reason in Islamic lands—developments that are critical to the order of the international system.

Koret Task Force on K–12 Education conducts policy research on educational improvement, examining measures to reform public schools and expand privatization. The reforms focus on accountability and transparency, in terms of both student performance and fiscal responsibility. Privatization stresses choice—for parents, teachers, and school administrators—including the consideration of charter schools and vouchers. Both dimensions of reform carefully weigh equity concerns.

Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law examines the rule of law and its importance in Western civilization, as well as international law and organizations, the laws of war, and US criminal law. By studying the array of legal, social, economic, ethical, and political factors, the group aims to strike an optimal balance between individual freedom and the vigorous defense of the nation against terrorists both at home and abroad.

John and Jean De Nault Task Force on Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity explores the philosophical, historical, legal, and economic foundations of property rights and their role in contemporary society. The inquiry stresses how secure property rights encourage economic development, natural resource stewardship, and investment in intellectual and physical capital, as well as promote individual responsibility, liberty, and prosperity.

The Role of History in Policy Formation critiques contemporary societies’ tendency to address public policy issues with minimal reference to the historical record. The perspective of history plays an important role in sorting through policy alternatives by informing and shaping the analytic dialogue. This approach will first be applied to understanding the link between military history and current national security issues, including the conduct of war and our response to terrorism.

Boyd and Jill Smith Task Force on Virtues of a Free Society aims to clarify the beliefs, practices, and institutions that play a crucial role in forming and sustaining liberty, democratic self-government, and the American way of life. By examining political thought and culture, the transformation of government and society, and changes in American public opinion, the group will formulate recommendations for strengthening our civil society.

Terrorism and National Security

For decades, the themes of the Hoover Institution have revolved around the broad concerns of political, economic, and intellectual freedom. No sooner had communism and the cold war left the stage than they were replaced by the shocking events leading up to and following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Two concentrated areas of research have evolved during the past few years that focus on the modern international order of states. In thinking about international order, national security issues, in the face of terrorism and ideological strife, are paramount. Some fear that privacy is eroding under the guise of national security requirements that seek only to replace outdated conventions of the laws of war with the classical rule of civilian law. Hoover scholars continue to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on topics such as the ongoing security issues in the United States and abroad so as to further our understanding of the war of ideas with radical Islam and its links to terrorism. Numerous treatments have been written on such topics, including

  • Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment inside the Bush Administration
  • Zeno Baran’s Torn Country: Turkey between Secularism and Islamism
  • Abbas Milani’s The Myth of the Great Satan: A New Look at America’s Relations
  • with Iran
  • Habib Malik’s Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East
  • Stewart Baker’s Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism
  • Russell Berman’s Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad
Terror Presidency book cover image Torn Country book cover image The Myth of the Great Satan book cover image Islamism and the Future of the Christians book cover image Skating on Stilts book cover image Freedom or Terror book cover image


Since the beginning of the financial crisis, Hoover fellows have been actively engaged in research and debate on the causes of and solutions to the problems. Their efforts, which focus on various aspects of the economic crisis, are disseminated in an array of mediums, including opinion editorials and articles, lectures, media appearances, governmental testimony, and short books. Books that have been published include Getting Off Track, The Road ahead for the Fed, and Ending Government Bailouts as We Know Them, which were led by the efforts of John B. Taylor. These three books examine the causes of the financial crisis and what prolonged and worsened it, the proposals for financial reform and exit strategies, and the dangers of continuing government bailouts as well as offering constructive alternatives. Thomas Sowell authored the book The Housing Boom and Bust that explores the economics and politics behind the boom and bust. And, to coincide with the first hundred days of the Obama administration, Terry L. Anderson and Richard Sousa, along with a team of expert contributors, produced Reacting to the Spending Spree that analyzes near- and long-term efforts by both the Obama and the Bush administrations to fix the current financial crisis by examining a range of issues affected by the proposed reforms.


John Raisian Click here to view agendas from past donor retreats.

At donor retreats, a tradition since 1992, Hoover fellows and other leading public policy analysts present their latest research to the Institution’s friends and supporters. Such retreats showcase Hoover’s many contributions toward generating public policy: the volunteer military, the intellectual framework of the Reagan presidency, the flat tax, the Taylor Rule, choice and accountability in education, and other ideas central to America’s political culture.

“Even in an era of much-ballyhooed change, the government cannot eliminate sadness. What it can do is transfer that sadness from those who made risky and unwise decisions to the taxpayers who had nothing to do with their decisions.”

— Thomas Sowell, the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy