The challenges our country faces require us to be provocative and wide-ranging in our thinking. The Hoover fellowship has a specific focus on the key areas of focus that seek to address the pressing needs faced by policy makers at all levels of government, from state and local leaders to national and international leaders.
Answering Challenges to Advanced Economies
The Hoover Institution prioritizes research toward developing solutions for Americans to enjoy the fruits of economic freedom and the free market system. The underlying principles of this focus area are expanding access to high quality education and strengthening equality of opportunity.
"When free markets provide incentives for people to smartly organize their labor, resources, and capital, the whole of society will become more prosperous. What should actually grate against our sense of justice is inequality of access and opportunity.”
Determining America's Role in the World
Defending freedom at home depends on America strengthening alliances and partnerships with other democracies against threats to their sovereignty posed by forces of authoritarianism. The Hoover Institution has regional experts, as well as scholars in diplomacy, military, technology, economics, immigration, energy, and other policy perspectives that are integral to the nation’s security and prosperity.
"Democracies don’t employ child soldiers. They don’t harbor terrorists as a matter of state policy. They don’t invade their neighbors. If you’re realistic about authoritarians, they do all of those things. And, by the way, they don’t have the one important shock absorber that democracies have. People can’t change their circumstances peacefully. And so when an autocracy fails, you get an explosion."
The Hoover Institution was originally founded in 1919 as a repository of records about war and peacetime. Today, the Library & Archives holds among the world’s most important historical collections, supporting our fellowship’s efforts to inform policymakers and educate current and future generations about valuable lessons from the past.
“One of the features that distinguishes Hoover from other think tanks is that it not only sits at a leading university, but it also has a Library & Archive containing the world’s most important collections of modern history. The truth can be told from our more than six thousand collections that largely cover the history of the twentieth century. The Hoover Institution has great historians who explore big questions."
Empowering State and Local Governance
Significant policy making doesn’t just take place in the domain of the federal government. The Hoover Institution is committed to the idea that policy research should focus on solutions at the state and local level, where governments are best positioned to improve educational outcomes, stimulate economic growth, spur innovation, and respond to other needs of its citizens. To accomplish this goal of empowering states and localities across America, the Hoover Institution partners with a diverse range of state agencies and lawmakers. The aim of these collaborations is to produce data-driven policy recommendations on key issues such as economic development, public sector pensions, energy policy, tax and fiscal policy, and many others.
“Hoover fellows conduct data-driven research and deliver recommendations to our extensive network of policymakers and other stakeholders in states and cities across the nation with the goal of helping ordinary Americans improve their lives and achieve prosperity.”
Understanding Public Opinion
The Hoover Institution conducts two bi-annual polls that measure the political attitudes of voters, their reactions to their leader’s policy decisions, and their beliefs about the direction of America.
“In a democracy, discerning public opinion is crucial to designing policies that respect the will of voters, advance freedom, and enhance citizens’ security and prosperity.”
Confronting and Competing with China
In the past decade, China has become more aggressive in the Indo-Pacific region and has heightened its ambitions on the global stage, where it has attempted to reshape international institutions and thwart democratic norms. Hoover scholars are committed to research centered on how America can better understand Beijing’s worldview, and confront the challenges it poses now and in the decades to come.
“America’s strategic advantage is its strong network of friends and allies. China only has clients.”
Understanding the Effects of Technology on Economics and Governance
Hoovers scholars address how America can grapple with risks and exploit strategic advantages presented by technology. Issues being studied include competing technologically with China; protecting American citizens and companies in cyberspace; and protecting freedom of speech while mitigating the spread of false information.
“We sit in the Silicon Valley surrounded by technology and innovation. …People tend to take for granted that technology is good. In fact, technology is neutral. However, it can be applied for good or evil, in the manner in which it affects institutions and people's lives. Human beings have been historically a lot better at the knowledge part than the wisdom part. The same splitting of the atom that allowed us to turn on the lights of civil nuclear power or administer medical isotopes, also gave us the atom bomb.”
Revitalizing American Institutions
As articulated in the beginning of Herbert Hoover’s statement to Stanford University’s board of trustees in 1959, the Hoover Institution supports the Constitution of the United States, its Bill of Rights, and its method of representative government. Our fellowship remains deeply committed to these foundations of government because only in a free society grounded in the rule of law, can human beings thrive and achieve prosperity.