Miller Center

Derek Hoff

History, University of Virginia

Are We Too Many?: The Political Economy of Population in the Twentieth-Century United States

Hoff photo

Derek S. Hoff is Associate Professor of History at the University of Utah.

Hoff's research interests include the role of natural monopoly theory in the rise of the regulation of the telephone industry in the 19th century, development of inheritance tax, and the history of income inequality across industrialized nations.

Hoff's dissertation discussed a history of the population debate in the modern United States. In particular, it focused on the subset of that debate that focuses on the interrelationship between demography and the economy. Most histories of "population" in America center on cultural and ethnic questions such as the early-century eugenics movement and the nation's recurrent anti-immigrationism. Hoff's study returned the economic-demographic debate to the center of not only the course of population thought and policy, but also the larger American political economy. 

Fellowship year: 2004

Mentor: Michael Bernstein, Tulane University

Selected Recent Publications

The State and the Stork: The Population Debate and Policy Making in US History (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

The False Alarm over U.S. Fertility." New York Times, April 16, 2013.

Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, The Contract Clause, and the Great Depressionwith John Fliter (University Press of Kansas, 2012).

A Modest Proposal for a New Population Debate." Need to Know, PBS, July 2012.

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