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

Patent Applications
In the News

Battles Over Patents Can Be Productive

featuring Stephen Habervia Financial Times
Thursday, October 14, 2021

Let our global subject matter experts broaden your perspective with timely insights and opinions you can’t find anywhere else.

The Battle over Patents: History and Politics of Innovation

via Oxford University Press
Friday, August 20, 2021

An examination of how the patent system works, imperfections and all, to incentivize innovation

Economics Abstract

Alabama’s Assets Can Help Position State Well For Innovation Economy

featuring Stephen Haber, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Whalen, Hoover Institutionvia Alabama Newscenter
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Stephen Haber was hiking the trails of DeSoto State Park in northeast Alabama and got himself good and lost. He continued to wander, fully unprepared for what he was about to encounter.

Euro Zone
In the News

The EU’s Financial Sector Mercantilism Will Lead To Weakness, Not Strength

cited Stephen Habervia National Review
Thursday, June 24, 2021

The best way to have open, strong, and resilient financial markets and payment systems is not to commit to central planning.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Sweet Home Alabama

interview with Stephen Haber, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The building blocks for a futuristic American state.

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The Battle Over Patents: History And The Politics Of Innovation

by Stephen Haber, Naomi R. Lamoreauxvia National Bureau of Economic Research
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

This essay is the introduction to a book of the same title, forthcoming in summer of 2021 from Oxford University Press. The purpose is to document the ways in which patent systems are products of battles over the economic surplus from innovation. The features of these systems take shape as interests at different points in the production chain seek advantage in any way they can, and consequently, they are riven with imperfections. 

Analysis and Commentary

Canadian Versus US Banking

by David R. Henderson featuring Stephen Haber, Charles Calomirisvia EconLog
Thursday, April 15, 2021

I’ll be discussion leader at a colloquium the weekend after next whose topic is Canadian banking. The readings are so much fun because I’m learning so much history, mainly about banking but partly about politics, in the country I grew up in.

Lessons From The Hoover Policy Boot CampFeatured

Making The US Economy Grow Again: The Role Of Intellectual Property Rights

by Stephen Habervia PolicyEd
Monday, November 30, 2020

Stephen Haber discusses the US economy and the role intellectual property rights play in increasing prosperity.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Reasons To Be Thankful

featuring Edward Paul Lazear, Russ Roberts, Stephen Haber, Russell A. Berman, Michael R. Auslin, General Jim Mattis, Daniel Heilvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The year 2020 will not be remembered as a year of progress. But we shouldn’t forget that people in the 21st century are wealthier and freer than at any other time in history. As we approach the holiday season, let’s explore the many reasons we should be thankful, even in 2020.

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Reasons to Be Thankful

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of Edward Paul Lazear, Russ Roberts, Stephen Haber, Milton Friedman, David C. Mulford, Russell A. Berman, Michael R. Auslin, General Jim Mattisvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

This will not be remembered as a year of progress. From the COVID-19 pandemic to geopolitical tensions, it may seem as if the world is going backwards. But we shouldn’t forget that people in the twenty-first century are wealthier and freer than at any other time in history. As we approach the holiday season, let’s explore the many reasons we should be thankful, even in 2020.