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

Bank of America
Analysis and Commentary

The Blight of Bank Bailouts

by Charles Calomiris, Stephen Habervia Washington Examiner
Monday, February 24, 2014

Is there hope for reform? Perhaps not, at least until we recognize a major source of the world's government debt. When economists and politicians talk about the problem of unsustainable government debt, they often focus on the need to rein in government budgets and entitlement policies. 

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Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit

by Stephen Haber, Charles Calomirisvia Princeton University Press
Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fragile by Design is a revealing exploration of the ways that politics inevitably intrudes into bank regulation.

Analysis and Commentary

The Housing Crisis: What's the Fed's Excuse?

by Stephen Haber, Charles Calomirisvia News Hour
Thursday, February 6, 2014

The massive increases in risky mortgages and thin bank capital requirements underlying the financial crisis wouldn't have been possible without the Fed’s willing participation. But the Fed doesn't act alone. In this adaptation of their forthcoming book, Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber argue that the Fed is the product of legislation and politicking that have made the banking system fragile by design. Continue reading →

Analysis and Commentary

Strange Bedfellows at the Bank

by Charles Calomiris, Stephen Habervia National Review Online
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Leftist activists, with lawmakers’ support, worked with megabanks to lower lending standards for all.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Banking Systems Succeed -- And Fail

by Stephen Haber, Charles Calomirisvia Foreign Affairs
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

People routinely blame politics for outcomes they don’t like, often with good reason: when the dolt in the cubicle down the hall gets a promotion because he plays golf with the boss, when a powerful senator delivers pork-barrel spending to his home state, when a well-connected entrepreneur obtains millions of dollars in government subsidies to buil

Patent Nonsense

by Rod Cooper, Richard A. Epstein, Stephen Habervia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2013

The patent troll gets a bad rap. Guarding and managing intellectual property helps everyone. By Rod Cooper, Richard A. Epstein, and Stephen H. Haber.

Analysis and Commentary

Patents are not the enemy (Registration Required)

by Richard A. Epstein, Stephen Haber, Rod Coopervia Chicago Tribune
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Business Isn't Getting 'In the Game'

by Stephen Haber, F. Scott Kieffvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why businesspeople aren’t banking on Washington’s supposedly pro-business overtures. By Stephen H. Haber and F. Scott Kieff.

Merowe Dam in Sudan

Lands of Little Rain

by Stephen Haber, Victor Menaldovia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drought may not be destiny, but a critical ingredient for democratic societies does seem literally to fall from the skies. By Stephen H. Haber and Victor Menaldo.

Stephen Haber is the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institutio

Haber says moderate rainfall leads to farms, democracies

by Stephen Habervia Street Smart (Bloomberg Television)
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stephen Haber, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at Stanford University, discusses, with Carol Massar and Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television's Street Smart, his research into the impact rainfall may have on the development of governments. Haber and Victor Menaldo, a professor at the University of Washington, found that countries where rainfall averages between 50 and 100 centimeters (39.4 inches) a year are more likely to be democratic.