Carson Bruno


Carson Bruno is the Assistant Dean for Admission and Program Relations at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy, where he oversees student recruitment, career services, and policy programming.  Carson is a former research fellow at the Hoover Institution who primarily studied California public policy, electoral politics, and public opinion. Carson has recently written and spoken extensively on California’s economic recovery, the economic and policy importance of Silicon Valley, California’s housing affordability crisis, the impact of public opinion on Sacramento policymaking, the effects of California’s one-party rule, and California’s drought and water system, energy portfolio, and climate change actions.  Moreover, Carson has explored pension, tax, and government reforms, how best to alleviate poverty in California, transportation issues, and California’s electoral scene.

Carson also examined domestic economic policy, tax policy, and the intersection of energy and environmental policy. His central interest is in developing market-efficient and effective policies that complement California public opinion and spur economic growth, advance personal liberty, and improve economic mobility within the state. Carson’s examination of national policy largely focused on its effect on state policy-making decisions.

While a research fellow, Carson was co-editor of Eurekathe Hoover Institution’s bi-monthly web periodical that discusses the policy, political, and economic issues confronting California and was a member of the Golden State Poll development team.  Carson has a monthly column on RealClearMarkets and has been featured in the Sacramento BeeSan Jose Mercury NewsSan Francisco ChronicleCalMattersWashington ExaminerOC Register, and Fox News. Carson was also a regular guest on the John Batchelor Show and the Commonwealth Club of California’s Week to Week Political Roundtable.

Before joining the Hoover Institution, Carson structured tax-exempt and taxable municipal bond issuances as a public finance investment banker, which gave him an in-depth look at state and local fiscal policy decisions. He received his master’s degree in public policy with honors from Pepperdine University, specializing in economics and American politics. He has a BS in accounting and business management, with special attainments in commerce, from Washington and Lee University.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

Featured Commentary

Altering Californian Behavior by the Ballot

by Carson Brunovia Eureka
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Public policy at its very core is functionally using government action (or inaction) to alter how people behave, in some form or another.  This doesn’t necessarily means brute government force, i.e. bans, mandates, or government’s monopoly over violence, as using market mechanisms also strive to alter behavior.  Behavioral changes can be as simple as stopping at red lights to ensure orderly vehicle movement or as complex as altering the incentives to alleviate the symptoms or causes for poverty.

Heading Toward A One-Party System Is A Bad Idea

by Carson Bruno
Friday, October 28, 2016

I normally try to keep my commentary partisan-free and focus on policy arguments and facts. But the 2016 election is right around the corner and some partisan tough talk and reality checking is needed.


After President And Senate, California's Voters May Produce Nail-Biters

by Carson Brunovia Real Clear Markets
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Vote-by-mail ballots are already hitting doorsteps triggering the start of Election Month in the nation's largest state. Some races won't be too hard to call: Clinton will win California's 55 Electoral College votes and a Democrat will be replacing retiring Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate. 


Higher Taxes Alone Won't Fix California's Infrastructure

by Carson Brunovia Real Clear Markets
Thursday, October 6, 2016

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown called a special legislative session to address California's transportation infrastructure funding deficiencies. It's obvious to see why this issue needs attention. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives California's transportation infrastructure a dismal C- grade.

Analysis and Commentary

Elections Have Consequences For California's Economy

by Carson Brunovia Real Clear Markets
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Voter guides are hitting doorsteps across California with a thud. Clocking in at over 220 pages, an inch thick, and weighing about 10 ounces, the 2016 guide is akin to an election novella. Its size reinforces the enormous responsibility Californians have when voting. Here's a snapshot of some of the good, bad, and ugly on this November's ballot.

Analysis and Commentary

California's Faux Environmentalism

by Carson Brunovia The Orange County Register
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed two high-profile anti-climate change bills – Senate Bill 32 and Assembly Bill 197 – which double down on California’s already aggressive environmental efforts despite the fact that they aren’t working as planned. 


A Common Sense Reform For California

by Carson Brunovia Real Clear Markets
Thursday, September 8, 2016

On November 8, Californians will have to decide how to vote on seventeen statewide ballot measures. And the topics covered are complex and hefty, to say the least, including price controls on pharmaceuticals, recreational marijuana legalization, gun control, and the death penalty.

Featured CommentaryFeaturedFeatured Commentary

Is It Time To Reconsider California’s Initiative System?

by Carson Brunovia Eureka
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On November 8, 2016 Californians will once again have the opportunity to not only elect (or re-elect) local, state, and federal representatives, but also to directly participate in generating public policy.  While California’s initiative system is often romanticized, its inflexibility often leads California down a path ripe with unintended consequences and few options for fixing past mistakes. 

Analysis and Commentary

Can California Voters Make Responsible Policy?

by Carson Brunovia Real Clear Markets
Thursday, August 25, 2016

This November, Californians - in addition to electing or re-electing local, states, and federal office-holders - will be deciding the fate of at least seventeen statewide ballot measures (and countless local/regional ones). These measures address some major policy issues, such as the fate of California's death penalty, adult recreational marijuana use, and pharmaceutical price controls.

Analysis and Commentary

California Is Moving In the Wrong Energy Security Direction

by Carson Brunovia Real Clear Markets
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In the soon-to-be-released Hoover Institution Press book, Blueprint for America, edited by former Secretary of State George Shultz, retired Admiral James Ellis explores how the United States is primed and ready to develop an energy security strategy.