Stephen Haber

Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow

Stephen Haber is the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the A.A. and Jeanne Welch Milligan Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. In addition, he is a professor of political science, professor of history, and professor of economics (by courtesy), as well as a senior fellow of both the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Center for International Development.

From 1995 to 1998, Haber served as associate dean for the social sciences and director of Graduate Studies of Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences. He is among Stanford’s most distinguished teachers, having been awarded every teaching prize Stanford has to offer. He was honored with Stanford’s highest teaching honor in 2011, the Walter J. Gores Award.

Haber has spent his academic life investigating the political institutions and economic policies that delay innovation and improvements in living standards. Much of that work has focused on how regulatory and supervisory agencies are often used by incumbent firms to stifle competition, thereby curtailing economic opportunities and slowing technological progress.

His current research focuses on three areas: the creation of regulatory barriers to entry in finance; the economic and political consequences of holdup problems created by different systems of agricultural production; and the comparative development of patent systems. He is a regular consultant to the World Bank and has been a visiting faculty member at the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Chicago. He currently serves as director of Hoover’s Working Group on Innovation and Intellectual Property.

Haber’s most recent book (coauthored with Charles Calomiris), Fragile by Design, from Princeton University Press, examines how governments and industry incumbents often craft banking regulatory policies in ways that stifle competition and increase systemic risk.

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Recent Commentary

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An Empirical Examination of Patent Hold-Up

by Alexander Galetovic, Stephen Haber, Ross Levinevia IP2 Working Paper Series
Monday, March 30, 2015

IP² Working Paper No. 15010 - A large literature asserts that standard essential patents (SEPs) allow their owners to “hold up” innovation by charging fees that exceed their incremental contribution to a final product.

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Why Do Inventors Sell to Patent Trolls? Experimental Evidence for the Asymmetry Hypothesis

by Stephen Haber, Seth H. Werfelvia IP2 Working Paper Series
Friday, January 23, 2015

IP² Working Paper No. 15009 - Why do individual patent holders assign their patents to “trolls” rather than license their technologies directly to manufacturers or assert them through litigation?

Analysis and Commentary

Redistributive Credit Policies Won't Fix Inequality

by Charles Calomiris, Stephen Habervia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mel Watt, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, recently announced that he will reduce the minimum mortgage down payment requirement for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the housing financing behemoths that he controls as their conservator since the financial crisis – to three percent.

The Federal Reserve
Analysis and Commentary

The Federal Reserve's Too Cozy Relations With Banks

by Stephen Haber, Ross Levinevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Working at the Fed shouldn't be an audition for a Wall Street job. Waiting periods and other reforms are needed.

Patent Applications
Analysis and Commentary

The Myth Of the Wicked Patent Troll

by Stephen Haber, Ross Levinevia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, June 29, 2014

There's a movement afoot to reform the U.S. patent system to combat "patent trolls," businesses that buy patents from inventors and then sue firms that use them without payment.

Capitol Building

Special: Rauh, Haber, and Kane on the John Batchelor Show

by Stephen Haber, Joshua D. Rauh, Timothy Kanevia John Batchelor Show
Friday, May 9, 2014

In conjunction with a special live taping of the John Batchelor Show at the Hoover Spring Retreat, John Batchelor and Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal hosted a discussion on the far reach of the federal government, featuring Hoover senior fellows Stephen Haber and Joshua Rauh and Hoover research fellow Tim Kane.

Patent Holdup: Do Patent Holders Holdup Innovation?

by Stephen Haber, Ross Levinevia IP2 Working Paper Series
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IP² Working Paper No. 14011 - President Obama and Congress have recommended major patent reforms based on the belief that the patent system allows patent holders to holdup the commercialization of complex technologies.

Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression.

Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit

by Stephen Habervia Fellow Talks
Monday, May 5, 2014

Stephen Haber, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discussed the history of politics and banking in his talk entitled “Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit.

Houses of Cards

by Charles Calomiris, Stephen Habervia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

The mortgage market came tumbling down because activists, regulators, and lenders laid such a wobbly foundation.

Housing Image
Analysis and Commentary

The Illusion of Reform and the Next Housing Crisis

by Stephen Haber, Charles Calomirisvia e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This article is adapted from the authors’ new book, Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit (Princeton Universi...