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

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.


Steven Davis: Analysts Say US-China Trade Imbalance May Not Be What Really Matters

interview with Steven J. Davisvia America CGTN
Monday, April 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Steven Davis talks about the US trade deficit with China. Davis does not think we should be too worried because the US and the US treasury in-particular is the world’s largest supplier of safe liquid debt securities. What do we get for that? We get stuff. We get cars and goods and so on.

In the News

Young Businesses Are More Vulnerable To Housing Market Shocks

featuring Steven J. Davisvia Chicago Booth Review
Thursday, April 4, 2019

The US housing market bust after 2006 drove a historic collapse in the employment share of young companies, according to research by Chicago Booth’s Steven J. Davis and University of Maryland’s John Haltiwanger. The share of private-sector workers employed by young companies (defined as less than 60 months old) dropped from 18 percent in 1987 to just 9 percent in 2014. It fell especially fast from 2006 to 2011.

In the News

Does The Macroeconomy Float In Choppy Waters?

mentioning Steven J. Davisvia Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

In a recent Economic Synopses essay, we discussed how large changes in economic policy uncertainty (EPU) can affect key macroeconomic indicators like GDP and inflation. In that analysis, we considered only shocks that were large enough to push EPU above the recent historical highs. Thus, changes in the EPU do not necessarily have proportional changes on the economy.

Policy News and Stock Market Volatility

by Scott R. Baker, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Kyle Kostvia Economics Working Papers
Monday, March 25, 2019

Economics Working Paper 19105

Analysis and Commentary

Trade Policy Is Upending Markets—But Not Investment

by Steven J. Davisvia Chicago Booth Review
Monday, March 18, 2019

While tariffs and tariff threats have become a leading source of stock market volatility, they have had little impact on US business investment.

Analysis and Commentary

Tariff Worries And U.S. Business Investment, Take Two

by Steven J. Davis, David Altig, Nick Bloom, Brent Meyer, Nicholas Parkervia Seeking Alpha
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tariff hikes and trade policy tensions have continued to mount. U.S. stock market volatility also rose sharply in the last four months of 2018, partly in reaction to trade policy concerns.