I am currently an Assistant Professor of History at UCSB and a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute’s Macroeconomic Analysis Program. Previously, I was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. I have also taught as a non-tenure track instructor at Claremont McKenna College, UCLA, and Queens College.

Broadly, my research focuses on the dynamic interplay between political economy, social movements, and public policy. Specific fields of research and teaching interest include African American Studies, the civil rights movement, political economy, policing and imprisonment, labor and working-class history, U.S. and the world, and climate change and environmental justice movements.

My popular writings have appeared in the Washington Post, CNBC, The Intercept, The Nation, the Boston Review, and elsewhere. I also collaborate with social justice organizations and policymakers. In February 2021 and 2024, I co-authored with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley a Congressional Resolution  to create a federal job guarantee.

I am committed to public scholarship and I often write for policy and popular audiences as well as collaborate with social justice organizations. From 2014-2020, I co-hosted and and produced Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast with Alex Beasley.

I am currently completing my first book, Fearing Inflation, Inflating Fears: The Civil Rights Struggle for Full Employment and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1929-1986, which is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press’s Justice, Power, and Politics series. It describes how battles over unemployment led to mass incarceration by following two parallel movements: the civil rights campaign for a federal job guarantee and the ascent of federal criminal legal policy. Instead of expanding the welfare state to accommodate civil rights demands for guaranteed jobs, the federal government increased its punitive capacities for policing and imprisonment in the 1960s and after. I argue that mass incarceration arose as an alternative political response to a crisis posed by structural joblessness.

I am also working on two new book projects. The first is about racial capitalism, the historical geography of money, the history of gold mining, and the rise of fiat currencies. The second is about anti-racist working-class resistance to neoliberalism as viewed through the lives of Coretta Scott King, Cleveland Robinson, Jerry Tucker, and James Haughton.

Selected Scholarly Publications

“Rustin and the Tactics of Democratic Socialism,” in Bayard Rustin: A Legacy of Protest and Politics, ed. Michael G. Long (New York University Press, 2023).

“Containing Keynesianism in an Age of Civil Rights: Jim Crow Monetary Policy and the Struggle for Guaranteed Jobs, 1956-1979,” in Beyond the New Deal Order: U.S. Politics from the Great Depression to the Great Recession, ed. Gary Gerstle, Nelson Lichtenstein, and Alice O’Connor, 1st edition, Politics and Culture in Modern America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

“‘This Nation Has Never Honestly Dealt with the Question of a Peacetime Economy’: Coretta Scott King and the Struggle for a Nonviolent Economy in the 1970s,” Souls 18, no. 1 (March 2016): 80–105, https://doi.org/10.1080/10999949.2016.1162570.

Policy Reports

David Stein, Dean Baker, and Sarah Rawlings, “The Full Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve: Its Origins and Importance” (The Center for Economic and Policy Research; Fed Up; The Center for Popular Democracy, July 2017).

Book Reviews

“Public Money Without Public Goods,” (Review Symposium on Destin Jenkins’ Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City). Law and Political Economy Blog, August 19, 2021.

“Beyond the Carceral Imagination,” (Review Symposium on Tony Platt’s Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States). Social Justice 47, no. 1–2 (2021): 228–33.

Review: Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, N.Y.: New Press, 2012. In Working U.S.A.: The Journal of Labor and Society. Volume 15, Issue 3. (September 2012): 455-458.

Selected Public Scholarship

“‘In a Good Economy Homelessness Goes Up’: Inflation and the Housing Question,” The Law and Political Economy Blog , March 21, 2022.

Cong. Ayanna Pressley and David Stein, “A Federal Job Guarantee is the Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement,” The Nation, September 2, 2021.

“Wartime Wisdom to Combat Inflation,” Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, August, 31, 2021.

Dan Berger and David Stein, “What Is and What Could Be: The Policies of Abolition,” Abolition for the People, edited by Colin Kaepernick for Medium.com, October 29, 2020.

Jack Norton and David Stein, “Materializing Race: On Capitalism and Mass Incarceration,” Spectre, October 22, 2020.

Cong. Ayanna Pressley and David Stein, “The Fed Has a ‘Responsibility’ to Help Reduce High Unemployment in the Black Community,” CNBC.com, July 21, 2020.

“The Untold Story: Joe Biden Pushed Ronald Reagan to Ramp Up Incarceration — Not the Other Way Around.” The Intercept, September 17, 2019.

 “The King Who Carried on the Fight for Economic Justice.” The Washington Post, April 4, 2018. (Republished by San Francisco Chronicle, New Haven Register, Bloomington Pantagraph).

“Want to Combat Inequality? Look to the Fed.” The Washington Post, August 7, 2017.

 Dan Berger, Mariame Kaba, and David Stein, “What Abolitionists Do,” Jacobin, August 24, 2017. (Republished in Lynn S. Branham et al., Incarceration and the Law: Cases and Materials, 2020.)

“Why Coretta Scott King Fought for a Job Guarantee.” Boston Review, Forum 2 (2017): 127–37.

“Coretta Scott King, The Archive, and Black Feminist Methods.” African American Intellectual History Society. Black Perspectives, May 11, 2017.

History 195IA: HPPL Senior Thesis (Winter 2023, Spring 2023)

History 158A: Racism, Political Economy, and Public Policy in Modern U.S. History (Spring 2023, Fall 2023)

History 174R: Undergraduate Research Seminar in Wealth and Poverty in America (Fall 2023)

History 17C: The American People (Spring 2024)