Paul Allan David is Professor of Economics (emeritus) and Senior Fellow (emeritus) of the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford. He is also a Professorial Fellow of the United Nations University-MERIT, in Maastricht NL, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Economic History in the University of Oxford and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. The author of more than 210 journal articles, chapters in edited volumes, and memoranda and research monographs for national and international government agencies, he has authored and edited 8 books, including Technical Choice, Innovation and Economic Growth (1975, reprinted 2007), Reckoning with Slavery: A Critical Study in the Quantitative History of American Negro Slavery (1976), and The Economic Future in Historical Perspective (2003), and others forthcoming.
Early in his career, David emerged among the pioneering practitioners of the "new economic history," and has become known internationally for wide-ranging contributions in the fields of American economic history, economic and historical demography, and the economics of science and technology and long-term economic growth in the economies of the West. Investigation of the conditions that give rise to ‘path dependence’—the persisting influence of historical events in micro- and macro-economic phenomena—is a recurring theme in his theoretical and empirical research on diverse topics. David’s persisting central interest in the evolution of diverse technologies and their economic and societal consequences has been pursued through the series extended multi-investigator research projects that he directed in different technical domains: the (1976-1991, NIH/NICHD funded) Stanford Project of the Contraceptive Technology and Behavioral Norms in the Quantitative History of Fertility Control; the (1988-1993, NSF/IRIS funded) project on Informational and Organizational Impacts on Productivity – focused on the experience of nuclear-powered electricity generating stations in U.S., and the 2001-2009, NSF/CISE funded international project based at Stanford-SIEPR on The Economic Organization and Viability of Open Source Software Development.
More recently, his research and writing have sought to clarify the role of R&D in expanding the world’s portfolio of effective energy technologies, and the design of fiscal, regulatory and institutional mechanisms for their coordinated and timely international deployment to avert the onset of irreversible, runaway global warming.
An elected Fellow of the International Econometrics Society (1975), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1979), the British Academy (1995), and the American Philosophical Society (2003), Paul David has been further honored by holding the Pitt Professorship in American History and Institutions at Cambridge University (1977-78), election as Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1993-2003), and appointment as Professor of Economic and Economic History in the University of Oxford by virtue of Distinction. He is a former Vice-President and President of both the Economic History Association (1988-89) and the Western Economic Association International (2009-2011), and was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the University of Torino (2003).