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

Analysis and Commentary

New Evidence Points To Mounting Trade Policy Effects On U.S. Business Activity

by David Altig, Jose Maria Barrero, Nick Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Brent Meyer, Emil Mihaylov, Nick Parkervia The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Friday, November 1, 2019

Trade worries remain at the forefront of economic news. Average tariffs on Chinese imports now stand at 21 percent, up from 3 percent in March 2018. Earlier this month, President Trump suspended plans for further tariff hikes on Chinese goods. Also this month, the U.S. is rolling out new tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of imports from Europe. On another front, fears are growing that Congress may not approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, the intended successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

In the News

The Stock Market’s ‘Halloween Indicator’ Is More Trick Than Treat

cited Steven J. Davisvia Market Watch
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Those counting on the so-called Halloween Indicator to boost the U.S. stock market over the next six months may be in more for of a trick than a treat.

In the News

From The US-China Trade War To Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry And Brexit, Record Levels Of Political Uncertainty Are Battering The Global Economy

cited Steven J. Davisvia South China Morning Post
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Geopolitical tensions and rising protectionism are pushing global uncertainty indices to, or near to, record highs, leaving world economic growth and trade teetering on a knife edge.

Analysis and Commentary

Private Equity Buyouts And Their Effects

by Steven J. Davis, John Haltiwanger, Kyle Handley, Ben Lipsius, Josh Lerner, Javier Mirandavia (Centre for Economic Policy Research)
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Private equity buyouts arouse intense interest among investors and business owners as well as policymakers and politicians, but the difficulty of assembling the data needed for a systematic evaluation makes assessing their effects hard. This column uses data on thousands of buyouts in the US to examine the effects on employment, job reallocation, productivity, and worker compensation. The findings suggest that the effects differ greatly by type of buyout, with the credit conditions at the time of buyout, and with the post-buyout evolution of credit conditions and the macroeconomy, casting doubt on the efficacy of ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy prescriptions for private equity.

In the News

Private-Equity Lobby Group Mounts Campaign To Counter Critics

cited Steven J. Davisvia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, October 21, 2019

[Subscription Required] The American Investment Council has produced digital advertisements and a report to highlight the industry’s positive impact on the U.S. economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Policy Uncertainty In Japan

by Elif C. Arbatli, Steven J. Davis, Arata Ito, Naoko Miakevia Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In the aftermath of the Financial Crisis (2007-08) and the Great Recession (2007-09), households and firms faced lots of uncertainty, not only about when and how the economy would recover, but also confusion on whether and how the administration, Congress, and the Federal Reserve would react. For families considering the purchase of a new car or a move to another city for a job, and for businesses considering new hires or a plant expansion, this policy uncertainty meant that the prudent choice was often wait-and-see.

In the News

Trump’s Trade War Could Put Swiss-Size Dent In Global Economy, I.M.F. Warns

quoting Steven J. Davisvia The New York Times
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The new head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that America’s trade war with China could cost the global economy around $700 billion by 2020 — a loss equivalent to the size of Switzerland’s entire economy.

In the News

Crumbling Exports

cited Steven J. Davisvia The Korea Herald
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

South Korea logged the sharpest drop in exports among the world’s 10 largest economies in terms of outbound shipments, according to data compiled by the World Trade Organization.

In the News

Important Study Shows Adverse Economic Effects Of Private Equity Buyouts

quoting Steven J. Davisvia Forbes
Monday, October 7, 2019

In thousands of private equity buyout firms, job losses and lower wages resulted two years after the completion of the private equity transactions. After examining 9,800 U.S. private equity (PE) buyouts from 1980 to 2013, during a period that had significant swings in credit market tightness and GDP growth, professors and researchers Steven J. Davis, John Haltiwanger, Kyle Handley, Ben Lipsius, Josh Lerner, and Javier Miranda, found that “Employment at target firms shrinks 13% over two years in buyouts of publicly listed firms.” 

In the News

Private Equity Takeovers Result In Significant Job Losses

cited Steven J. Davisvia Axios
Monday, October 7, 2019

Private equity takeovers result in significant job losses, according to a landmark new study by Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School and Steve Davis of the University of Chicago.