Steven J. Davis

Senior Fellow

Steven Davis is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and William H. Abbott Distinguished Service Professor of International Business and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  

He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an economic adviser to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, elected fellow of the Society of Labor Economics, member of the CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico, senior adviser to the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, and senior academic fellow of the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER). He also serves on the ABFER executive committee.

Past positions include Deputy Dean of the Faculty at Chicago Booth from 2012 to 2015, member of the governing committee of the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago from 2012 to 2015, and editor and founding co-editor of the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics from 2006 to 2011.

Davis studies business dynamics, labor markets, economic fluctuations and public policy.

He is known for his influential work using longitudinal data on firms and establishments to explore job creation and destruction dynamics and their relationship to economic performance. He is a creator of the Economic Policy Uncertainty Indices and the DHI Hiring Indicators. He co-organizes the Asian Monetary Policy Forum, held annually in Singapore. In 2013, he received the Addington Prize in Measurement for his research on “Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty.” 

In addition to his scholarly work, Davis has written for the Atlantic, Bloomberg View, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal and appeared on Bloomberg TV, Channel News Asia, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, NBC Network News and the U.S. Public Broadcasting System.

Davis was a national fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1988-89 and has held visiting faculty appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland at College Park and the National University of Singapore. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Portland State University and his masters and PhD degrees in economics from Brown University.


Awards and Honors:

Addington Prize in Measurement (2013)
Society of Labor Economics, Elected Fellow (2015)

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Recent Commentary

In the News

Executive Surveys Forecast Business Outcomes

cited Steven J. Davisvia Chicago Booth Review
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Consider the 2008–09 financial crisis, the June 2016 Brexit referendum, or recent trade tensions between the US and China. Developments such as these create uncertainty and undermine business confidence, hurting capital investment and growth. Indeed, unresolved trade tensions lowered gross investment in the US manufacturing sector by 4 percent, or $22 billion, in 2018, according to the January 2019 Survey of Business Uncertainty.

In the News

Trump Insists Everything Is Fine As Economic Anxiety Surges

quoting Steven J. Davisvia Politico
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The United States economy is slowing by nearly every major measure, from job creation to business investment.

In the News

How The Trade War Became The Stock Market’s Biggest Driver

cited Steven J. Davisvia Market Watch
Monday, September 9, 2019

Trade policy has never been as uncertain as it currently is, and that uncertainty is leading to volatile stock markets, a new study finds.

Rising Policy Uncertainty

by Steven J. Davisvia Economics Working Papers
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Economics Working Paper 19110

In the News

The Trade War Is Leading Some Firms To Crimp Investment

cited Steven J. Davisvia The Economist
Thursday, August 15, 2019

There’s tariffs on games and tariffs on toys—try explaining tariffs to your little boy. Santa’s workshop is struggling, you’ll find yourself saying. I think the reindeer are backed up with their sleighing.” 

Surveying Business Uncertainty

by David Altig, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Brent Meyer, Nicholas Parkervia Economics Working Papers
Monday, May 27, 2019

Economics Working Paper 19107

Analysis and Commentary

Housing Market And Bank Lending Effects On Young Firms And Local Economies

by Steven J. Davis, John Haltiwangervia (Centre for Economic Policy Research)
Sunday, May 5, 2019

Young firms live a financially precarious life, often dependent on self-funding tied to the value of the business owners’ homes. This column uses data from the US to show that housing market fluctuations play a major role in driving medium-term changes in young firm employment shares. As young firms hire a disproportionate number of younger and less-educated workers, these groups are disproportionately affected by house price fluctuations.


Top Of Mind: Buyback Realities With Steven Davis

interview with Steven J. Davisvia Goldman Sachs
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Steven Davis discusses whether corporate buybacks are a good use of corporate cash or whether corporations could spend the money more effectively elsewhere.

Analysis and Commentary

Buyback Realities (Page 12)

by Steven J. Davisvia Goldman Sachs
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Steven Davis argues that banning stock buybacks could trap resources in older/larger firms, hindering efficient capital allocation and job creation.