David Brady

Senior Fellow emeritus
Research Team: 
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Biography: 

David Brady holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a senior fellow emeritus at the Hoover Institution.  He has published seven books and more than a hundred papers in journals and books.  Among his most recent books are Leadership and Growth (World Bank Publications, 2010) with Michael Spence, Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Carter to Bush II (Westview Press, 2006), and Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics with Pietro Nivola (Brookings Institution Press, 2007).  His recent articles include “Why Is Health Care Reform So Difficult?” with Daniel Kessler, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, April 2010; “Putting the Public’s Money Where Its Mouth Is”  with Daniel Kessler, Health Affairs: The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere, August 2009, pages 917–25; “Leadership and Politics: A Perspective from the Growth Commission,” with Michael Spence, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 25, no. 2 (2009): 205–18; “The 2010 Elections: Why Did Political Science Forecasts Go Awry?” with Morris P. Fiorina and Arjun Wilkins, 2011.

Brady has been on continual appointment at Stanford University since 1986, where he has served as associate dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and as vice provost for Distance Learning.  He has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987.  He presently holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professorship in Ethics at the Business School and was deputy director of the Hoover Institution from 2004-2014.

During his teaching career, he won the Dinkelspiel Award for service to undergraduates, the Richard Lyman Prize for service to alumni, the Bob Davies Award and the Jaedicke Silver Cup from the GSB, and the first Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award given at Stanford.  He also won the George Brown Teaching Award at Rice University.

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Recent Commentary

David W. Brady

by Peter M. Robinsonwith David Bradyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Professor David W. Brady discusses the role that gridlock plays in shaping national policy with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. Together they look at key legislative issues, from the divided government under Reagan, through Clinton's Democratic government, to complete unified Republican control under George W. Bush, analyzing important cruxes in lawmaking: the swing votes, the veto, the filibuster, and the rise of tough budget politics.

Hanna Rosin on the rising influence of evangelical Christians

with Hanna Rosin, David Bradyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reporter Hanna Rosin outlines the rising influence of evangelical Christians in American politics in this conversation with Hoover deputy director David Brady. After a lengthy period of disengagement, evangelicals (such as those graduating from the recently established Patrick Henry College) are looking to reshape the culture through political activism. At the same time, evangelicals increasingly find themselves part of the mainstream in Washington, D.C.. Rosin suggests that even the language of politics has changed, with spiritual references now the norm in speeches by the president and members of Congress.

Joan Biskupic on Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor

with Joan Biskupic, David Bradyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Author Joan Biskupic talks with Hoover's own David Brady about her new biography of soon-to-be-retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Ms. Biskupic contends that O'Connor's influential tenure on the nation's highest court had as much to do with her consensus style and advocacy as it did with being a moderate among strongly liberal and conservative peers.

Morris P. Fiorina examines the myth of a polarized America

with Morris P. Fiorina, David Bradyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hoover senior fellow Morris Fiorina examines the myth of a polarized America with Hoover deputy director David Brady. The general public is often portrayed as bitterly divided on social, political, and economic issues, but new research shows that most Americans stand in the middle of the political landscape, preferring centrist candidates and holding moderate positions on charged cultural issues. It is the political parties and the media that have ignored this fact and distorted public perceptions.

David Brady and Morris Fiorina discuss The 2008 Elections: Setting the Scene

with David Brady, Morris P. Fiorinavia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, October 29, 2007

David Brady and Morris Fiorina discuss The 2008 Elections: Setting the Scene (44:41)

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Polarization in America

with David Brady, Morris P. Fiorinavia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, June 4, 2007

The general public is often portrayed as bitterly divided on social, political, and economic issues, but new research shows that most Americans stand in the middle of the political landscape, preferring centrist candidates and holding moderate positions on charged cultural issues. It is the political parties and the media that have ignored this fact and distorted public perceptions.

Analysis and Commentary

Openness doesn't depend on parties

by David Bradyvia Shanghai Daily
Saturday, May 26, 2007

It seems to be the case that in countries with a dominant party, incentives are more in line, that is, everyone favors economic growth...

Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America's Polarized Politics

with David Brady, Morris P. Fiorina, Pietro Nivolavia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

During the past decade, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have been able to capture a majority of the vote in national elections. In fact, the country hasn't been so evenly divided since the 1870s. Some say this is evidence of a culture war and a political divide that has split the country into two Americas. Others disagree, arguing that in fact most Americans are in the moderate middle and are divided on relatively few issues. Who's right?

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The Midterm Revolution That Wasn’t

by David Brady, Daniel M. Butler, Jeremy C. Popevia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Set aside the easy comparisons. The Democrats’ 2006 electoral victory was a different breed entirely from the 1994 Republican triumph. By David W. Brady, Daniel M. Butler, and Jeremy C. Pope.

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Congress, the President, and the Making of Foreign Policy

by David Brady, Craig Voldenvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2006

In foreign policy, Congress defers to the president. Why? Risk aversion. By David W. Brady and Craig Volden.

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