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David W. Brady

David W. Brady
Professor, Political Economy
Contact Info
Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor in Leadership Values
Davies Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Academic Area: 
Political Economy

Research Statement

Brady's research focuses on the American Congress, the party system, and public policy. He is at present working on a book on the electoral base of party parity in the United States and its effects on polarization and gridlock in the policy arena. He has published eight books and more than a hundred papers in journals and books. Among his most recent publications are Leadership and Growth (World Bank Publications, 2010) coedited with Michael Spence, Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Carter to Bush II (Westview Press, 2006), and Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics with Pietro Nivola (Brookings Institution Press, 2007).


David Brady began his teaching career at Kansas State University in 1970, from there moved to Houston, Texas, where he taught at both the University of Houston and Rice University, where in 1981 he was named Autry Distinguished Professor of Social Science. In 1986 he moved to Stanford University with a joint appointment in the Graduate School of Business and Political Science. While at Stanford he has served as Associate Dean for Academic affairs in the GSB and as Vice Provost for Distance Learning at Stanford. He has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987. He presently holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professorship in Ethics at the Business School and is Deputy Director of the Hoover Institution.

Professor Brady’s teaching focuses on non-market strategy for corporations and ethical applications in building quality companies. In addition to his Business School teaching he also teaches an undergraduate course in public policy.  He won the Dinkelspiel Award for service to undergraduates, the Richard Lyman Prize for service to alumni,the Bob Davies award and The Jaedicke silver cup from the GSB and the first Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award given at Stanford. Brady has been on continuing appointment at Stanford University since 1987. He was associate dean from 1997 to 2001 at Stanford University; a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences from 1985 to 1986 and again in 2001–2; and the Autrey Professor at Rice University, 1980–87.

updated May 15,2014

His research focuses on the ties between elections, institutions (especially legislatures) and public policies. This work includes studies of American political history and comparitive studies of Britain, Ireland, Korea and Japan. His most recent project is a project on political responses to the second great transformation of the global economy.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, University of Iowa, 1970
  • MA, University of Iowa, 1967
  • BS, Western Illinois University, 1963

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford since 1987
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 2001-2002
  • Business School Trust Faculty Fellow, Stanford University, 1991-1992
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 1985-1986
  • Autrey Professor, Rice University, 1980-1987
  • Associate Professor - Professor, University of Houston, 1972-1979
  • Assisstant Professor, Kansas State University, 1969-1972
  • C.I.C. Scholar, University of Michigan, 1964-1965

Awards and Honors

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2000
  • Silver Apple Award Graduate School Business (Service to Alumni), 1997
  • Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanford, 1991


Journal Articles

Hahrie Han, David W. Brady. British Journal of Political Science. 2007, Vol. 37, Issue 3, Pages 505 - 531.
David W. Brady, Hahrie Han, Jeremy C. Pope. Legislative Studies Quarterly. 2007, Vol. 32, Issue 1, Pages 79–105.
Brandice Canes-Wrone, David W. Brady, John F. Cogan. American Political Science Review. 2002, Vol. 96, Issue 1, Pages 127-140.


David W. Brady, A. Michael Spence World Bank, 2010.

Book Chapters

David W. Brady, Hahrie Han. Red and Blue Nation. Brookings and Hoover Press, 2006, Vol. 1.

Working Papers

Courses Taught

Degree Courses


The Critical Analytical Thinking (CAT) seminar helps develop and hone the skills needed to analyze complex issues, to formulate well-reasoned arguments and to evaluate others€™ arguments. In sections of 18 students or less, you will analyze,...

Stanford Case Studies

Nike Sustainability and Labor Practices 2008-2013 | IB106
Glenn Carroll, Debra Schrifin, David Brady2013
Reliance Infocomm | SM143
David Brady, Vish Narain2005
Mirae, Charitable Giving in North Korea | SI33
David Brady, Erik Budde2003
Beginning With Children Foundation | SI12
David Brady, Karen Jacobson2002

Service to the Profession

  • Acting Vice Provost, Learning Technologies and Extended Education (LTEE), 1990-1991
  • Faculty Advisor, Public Management Program, 1998-present
  • Vice President, American Political Science Assn., 1995-present

In the Media

The Road to the White House
San Francisco Chronicle, 12 2000
Voting Reform: Exorcizing the Vote
Uncommon Knowledge, PBS, December 2000
Abundance of Riches Leads to Poor Choices as Lawmakers Play Politics
San Francisco Chronicle, August 2000
The Industry Standard, July 26, 2000

Insights by Stanford Business

March 2, 2012
Professor David Brady explained to an alumni audience how the "Guns and Butter" model of predicting elections tells just part of the story.
February 1, 2008
The Stanford GSB Alumni Association's Lifelong Learning program and Stanford Law School sponsored the discussion led by Professor David Brady.
March 1, 2005
Business is not only an economic, but also a social institution that should be used to solve some of the world's most difficult challenges, said Joss.

School News

June 1, 2011
Neale is the 13th recipient and first woman to receive the Davis Award for lifetime achievement by a faculty member.
March 1, 2003
A past associate dean, Professor Brady was honored with the Robert T. Davis Award recognizing extraordinary lifetime contributions to Stanford GSB.