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

If Economists Are So Smart, Why Is Africa So Poor?

by Barry R. Weingast, Douglass C. North, Stephen Habervia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Despite an enormous inflow of foreign aid, most African countries today are poorer than they were a generation ago. What’s gone wrong? By Hoover fellows Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North, and Barry R. Weingast.

Elections in Iraq
Analysis and Commentary

The Dilemma of Reforming a Post-Saddam Iraq

by Russell A. Berman, Stephen Haber, Barry R. Weingastvia World Trade
Monday, March 24, 2003

To understand how Western political and economic systems might be transplanted into a post-Saddam Iraq, we need to understand what is "Western" about our culture, politics, and economics.

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Lula’s Moment

by Stephen Haber, Herbert S. Klein, Richard Sousavia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 2003

Brazil has suffered economic and political stagnation for a quarter of a century. Will the nation’s charismatic new president be able to make a difference? By Hoover fellows Stephen Haber, Herbert S. Klein, and Hoover senior associate director Richard Sousa.SIDEBAR: Live from Rio

Understanding the Brazilian Elections
Analysis and Commentary

Understanding the Brazilian Elections

by Stephen Haber, Herbert S. Klein, Richard Sousavia Providence Journal
Monday, December 16, 2002

The overwhelming success of Lula and the Workers Party is a consequence of decades of stalled growth and failed promises.

The Poverty Trap

by Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North, Barry R. Weingastvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

If economists are so smart, why are developing countries so poor? By Hoover fellows Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North, and Barry R. Weingast.

Analysis and Commentary

Mexican Gridlock

by Stephen Habervia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, August 26, 2002

Thus even with congressional elections next year, it is unlikely that Fox will be able to form effective coalitions.

Whatever Happened to the Academic Left?

by Stephen Haber, Russell A. Bermanvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Russell Berman and Hoover fellow Stephen Haber on the evasions and illusions of contemporary academics.

Crony Capitalism and Economic Growth in Latin America: Theory and Evidence

Crony Capitalism and Economic Growth in Latin America: Theory and Evidence

by Stephen Habervia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Crony capitalism systems—in which those close to political policymakers receive favors allowing them to earn returns far above market value—are a fundamental feature of the economies of Latin America.

Can El Presidente Pull It Off?

by Stephen Habervia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 30, 2001

When Vicente Fox was elected president of Mexico a year ago, expectations ran high. Those expectations have turned out to be far more difficult to meet than either Fox or Mexican voters imagined. By Hoover fellow Stephen Haber.

SI, CHANGE: Mexico Transforming

with Stephen Haber, Denise Dresservia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, October 25, 2000

In 2000, Vicente Fox became the first opposition candidate ever to win the Mexican presidency. His election was preceded by a decade and a half of economic and political reforms in Mexico. How significant are these changes? What are the prospects for resolving some of Mexico's enduring problems, including political corruption, entrenched poverty and a state-controlled economy? What challenges will Fox have to overcome to bring Mexico into a new era of prosperity and freedom?