Paul David

Professor of Economics, and Professor, by courtesy, of History, Emeritus
Knowledge Networks and Institutions for Innovation Program - Director
Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072USA
Phone: (650) 723-3710
Fax: (650) 725-5702

Fields of Interest

Research Interests: The economics of technological change, demographic change, and institutional change, and other areas of theoretical and empirical research on the nature of path-dependence in economic processes; economic history, with special reference to long-term productivity growth and development in the U.S. and the North Atlantic economies since 1790.
Current Research: Economics of science and technology, with special reference to impact of intellectual property rights protections on the direction and conduct of “open science” research; implications of advances in computer-mediated telecommunications for collaborative development of information-goods, e.g., free/libre and open source software development.
Teaching Interests: Undergraduate and graduate courses in (1) American economic history, (2) economics of science and technology, (3) path dependence in economic processes. Graduate research seminars: Social Science History Workshop, Social Science and Technology Seminar.


Paul Allan David is Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University. He is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Economic History in the University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and currently Senior Fellow of the Oxford Internet Institute. David is the author of more than 150 journal articles and contributions to edited volumes, as well as of the author and editor of several books including Technical Choice, Innovation and Economic Growth (1975) and The Economic Future in Historical Perspective (2003). He was among the pioneering practitioners of the "new economic history," and is known internationally for wide-ranging contributions in the fields of American economic history, economic and historical demography, and the economics of science and technology. 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 research. Two main areas of contemporary economic policy research have emerged in his work the past two decades: the evolution of information technology standards and network industries, and the influence of legal institutions and social norms upon the funding and conduct of scientific research in the public sector, and the interactions between that latter and private sector R&D. David currently leads an international research project on the organization, performance and viability of free and open source software. Many professional honors have been bestowed upon David in the course of his career, including election as Fellow of the International Econometrics Society (1975), Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions in the University of Cambridge, as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1979), Vice-President, and President of the Economic History Association (1988-89), as Marshall Lecturer in the University of Cambridge.