School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Robert Hall

    Robert Hall

    Robert and Carole McNeil Professor and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution

    BioI’m an applied economist with interests in employment, technology, competition, and economic policy in the aggregate economy and in particular markets.

    I served as President of the American Economic Association for the year 2010. I presented the Ely Lecture to the Association in 2001 and served as Vice President in 2005. I’m a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Fellow of the AEA, and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, and the Society of Labor Economists.

    Along with my Hoover Institution colleague Alvin Rabushka, I developed a framework for equitable and efficient consumption taxation. Our article in the Wall Street Journal in December 1981 was the starting point for an upsurge of interest in consumption taxation. Our book, The Flat Tax (free download from the Hoover Institution Press) spells out the proposal. We were recognized in Money magazine’s Hall of Fame for our contributions to financial innovation.

    Marc Lieberman and I have a college textbook, Economics: Principles and Applications, now in its sixth edition.

    I also served as director of the research program on economic fluctuations and growth of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1977 through 2013. I continue to serve as chairman of the Bureau's Committee on Business Cycle Dating, which maintains the semiofficial chronology of the U.S. business cycle.

    I have advised a number of government agencies on national economic policy, including the Justice Department, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Congressional Budget Office, where I serve on the Advisory Committee. I served on the National Presidential Advisory Committee on Productivity. I have testified on numerous occasions before congressional committees concerning national economic policy.

    Before coming to Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the Department of Economics in 1978, I taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the University of California, Berkeley. I was born in Palo Alto, attended school there and in Los Angeles, received my B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and my Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    In a 1976 paper, I introduced the distinction between fresh-water and salt-water economists. Bloggers using these terms are asked to contribute $1 to a fund that sends graduate students to MIT for one year and to the University of Minnesota for a second year.

    I am married to economist Susan Woodward, chairman of Sand Hill Econometrics, and live in Menlo Park, California. Visit our blog for pictures and information about our visits to places with villages, ruins, and good food.