David W. Brady

David W. Brady
Professor Emeritus, Political Economy
Contact Info
Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and at SIEPR, and of Political Science, Emeritus
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 comparative 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

Aldo Paparo, Lorenzo De Sio, David W. Brady. Electoral Studies. February 2020, Vol. 63.
David W. Brady, John A. Ferejohn, Aldo Paparo. Italian Political Science Review. January 23, 2020, Pages 1–24.
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, Brett Parker. Developments in American Politics 8 (8th Edition). Red Globe Press, January 2018.
David W. Brady, Hahrie Han. Political Polarization in American Politics. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015, Pages 137–143.
David W. Brady. Political Polarization in American Politics. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015, Pages 115–119.
David W. Brady, Hahrie Han. Red and Blue Nation. Brookings and Hoover Press, 2006, Vol. 1.

Working Papers

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

National Affairs, September 2020
Strange things have been happening in Western democracies over the past few years. The British are leaving the European Union. Catalonia is again pursuing independence from Spain. Italy’s promising young prime minister, Matteo Renzi, lost a debate about his proposed constitutional reforms, prompting him to resign in 2016. In 2017, the far-right Alternative for Germany party won seats in parliament. Later that year, the far-right Freedom party helped form Austria’s new coalition government. Even in France, where Emmanuel Macron won the presidency in 2017 and the economy is growing, the centrist leader’s popularity fell to 40% a year after his election. And of course, Donald Trump is president of the United States.
Commentary, September 2016
No, the United States does not need a prime minister. A record number of Americans now perceive their government as ineffective. A Gallup poll taken in January found that “for the second consecutive year, dissatisfaction with government edged out the economy…as the nation’s top problem.” In May, a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that “just 4 percent (of Americans) say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress,” and only “15 percent say they have a lot of confidence in the executive branch.” In a democratic republic, where governing institutions are designed to reflect and respond to the will of the people, such low grades speak to a corrosive sense of crisis. The public call for the government to “do something” has become commonplace.
The American Interest, March 8, 2016
How the transformation of the world economy shook up Western politics. Political instability, defined as volatility in electoral politics, is on the rise in Western democracies and shows no signs of abating. Granting the premise just for the moment, why is this happening? Political cultures are complex, with lots of moving parts and difficult-to-establish relationships between institutions, attitudes, material realities, and external influences. But in this case, the data suggest that the answer is relatively straightforward: The perturbations of globalization best explain the variance. As we shall see, those perturbations are large or small, and more or less politically disruptive, as a function mainly of institutional arrangements. But those differing institutional arrangements among democracies are not themselves the cause of the instability.
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

October 15, 2020
From smarter polling to growing distrust in government, a political economist lays out what you should expect this November.
July 14, 2017
Job automation and rising tensions in the labor force will bring even more volatility in the future, says political economist David Brady.
July 6, 2017
Will Republican leaders continue to tolerate the outlier President? David Brady, Professor of Political Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business says yes... for now.
March 17, 2017
Political economist David Brady talks party polarization, third-party chances, and what to expect in 2018.
September 30, 2016
A Stanford scholar examines how we got to Trump and Clinton, who will likely win, and what it means for our future.
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.