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


How Innovation Drives Economic Growth

featuring Stephen Haber, Edward Paul Lazear, Amit Seru via Stanford Business
Monday, June 24, 2019

Three Stanford scholars explore how we measure innovation, how innovation drives productivity, and how productivity affects inequality.

A Century of Ideas: Technology, Innovation, And The Future Of The U.S. Economy

interview with Stephen Haber, Edward Paul Lazear, Amit Seru via The Hoover Centennial
Monday, May 20, 2019

This session will discuss the sources of prosperity in the United States over the past century and will look at the drivers of prosperity over the next century. Panelists will also address the ongoing debate about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on standards of living and the sets of relevant facts and data to consider.


Hoover IP2 To Convene Conference On Fourth Industrial Revolution In Brussels

quoting Stephen Haber, Richard Sousa, Nicolas Petit, Alexander Galetovicvia Hoover IP2
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution—the fusion of digital technologies, characterized by big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, smartphones, and autonomous vehicles—will affect how people work, communicate, and travel. Hoover IP² has organized a conference, “Institutions and Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” that addresses a core public policy question: What institutions, policies, rules, and regulations will maximize individual benefits and economic surplus as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes root?

In the News

BankThink Criticism Of BB&T-SunTrust Deal Is Overblown

quoting Charles Calomiris, Stephen Habervia American Baker
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

BB&T and SunTrust appear to have struck a nerve. Their merger would reportedly create the sixth-largest bank in the United States. There is, however, no reason to sound any alarms.

In the News

Josh Harder ’08 Represents Central Valley In New Congress

mentioning Stephen Habervia Stanford Daily
Monday, February 4, 2019

Representing his home district in the Central Valley just over 30 miles east of campus, Josh Harder ’08 began his first term in Congress in January. His platform of Medicare for All and economic development for Central Valley helped the Stanford alum and former Silicon Valley venture capitalist edge out four-term incumbent Republican Jeff Denham in one of the tightest congressional races of the 2018 elections.

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January 2018 Conference Highlights

by Stephen Haber, Richard Sousavia Hoover IP²
Friday, February 2, 2018

The Hoover Institution Working Group on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Prosperity’s (Hoover IP²) kicked off 2018 with a two-day conference, “Patent Practices and Policy: The Backbone of the Innovation Economy. ” Papers presented at the conference, held at Stanford University on January 11–12, 2018, focused on how patents and the patent system influences inventors, researchers, and the legal system and on the wide ranging economic impacts of IP-intensive industries.


Answering The Multitrillion-Dollar Question On Bank Regulation

by Stephen Haber, Ross Levinevia The Hill
Saturday, September 23, 2017

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and many others argue that the regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis in the form of the Dodd-Frank Act has burdened banks with costly regulations that slow growth and hurt American workers.

Analysis and Commentary

Patent Trolls Or Patent Elves? Evidence From Publicly-Traded Patent Assertion Entities

by Noel Maurer, Stephen Habervia Hoover IP2
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We assess whether patent assertion entities (PAEs), specialized firms that acquire and enforce patents on inventions that they do not actually produce or market, impose substantial burdens on operating companies. Using a sample of all publicly traded PAEs, we proceed in four steps. 

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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.