John F. Cogan

Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow

John F. Cogan is the Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University, where he has had a continuing appointment since 1980.

Cogan is an expert in domestic policy. His current research is focused on US budget and fiscal policy, social security, and health care. He has published widely in professional journals in both economics and political science. His most recent book, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System (Hoover Institution Press, 2011), coauthored with Glenn Hubbard and Daniel Kessler, recommends federal policy changes to improve US health-care markets.

Cogan has devoted a considerable part of his career to public service. He served as assistant secretary for policy in the US Department of Labor from 1981 to 1983. From 1983 to 1986, he served as associate director in the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB). His responsibilities included developing and reviewing all health, housing, education, and employment training programs and policies.

Cogan has served on numerous congressional, presidential, and California state advisory commissions. He served on the California State Commission on the 21st Century Economy and the California Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission. He served on President George W. Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, the US Bipartisan Commission on Health Care (the Pepper Commission), the Social Security Notch Commission, and the National Academy of Sciences' Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance.

Cogan serves on the board of directors of Gilead Sciences and Venture Lending and Leasing, L.L.C. and on the board of trustees of the Charles Schwab Family of Funds.

Cogan received his AB in 1969 and his PhD in 1976 from the University of California at Los Angeles, both in economics. He was an associate economist at the RAND Corporation from 1975 to 1980. In 1979, Cogan was appointed a national fellow at the Hoover Institution; in 1980 he was appointed a senior research fellow; and in 1984 he became a senior fellow.

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Recent Commentary

A Policy too Far

by George P. Shultz, Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

Yes, we need to make affordable health insurance available. But to do so we need to scrap the “cover everything” mentality.

Healthcare warning
Featured Commentary

It's Time to Rethink Health Insurance

by George P. Shultz, Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia Los Angeles Times
Monday, January 6, 2014

As the acute problems of the Affordable Care Act become increasingly apparent, it also has become clear that we need new ways of ensuring access to healthcare for all Americans. We should begin with an examination of health insurance.

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Featured Commentary

A Better Strategy for Faster Growth

by George P. Shultz, Gary S. Becker, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan H. Meltzer, John B. Taylorvia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Washington has become a city of tactics, obsessed with finger pointing, fear mongering and political spin. These maneuvers—designed for temporary political or personal gain—have produced incoherent policies and left the nation's pressing problems unaddressed.


Featured Commentary

How the House Budget Would Boost the Economy

by John B. Taylor, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, March 18, 2013

This week the House of Representatives will vote on its Budget Committee plan, which would bring federal finances into balance by 2023. The plan would do so by gradually slowing the growth in federal spending without raising taxes.


Fiscal Consolidation Strategy: An Update for the Budget Reform Proposal of March 2013

by John F. Cogan, John B. Taylor, Volker Wieland, Maik Woltersvia Working Group on Economic Policy
Monday, March 18, 2013

Working Group on Economic Policy: WP13104

This paper updates previous research and evaluates the March 2013 budget reform proposal that was discussed and voted on in the House of Representatives. The analysis shows that a credible phased-in reduction in government purchases and transfer payments can increase GDP immediately and permanently relative to a policy without spending restraint.

Start Now

by George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan H. Meltzer, John B. Taylorvia Analysis
Friday, January 25, 2013

This should be the president’s overwhelming top priority: deal with the looming debt. By George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan H. Meltzer, and John B. Taylor.

Economics Abstract
Featured Commentary

The Magnitude of the Mess We're In

by George P. Shultz, John B. Taylor, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan H. Meltzervia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sometimes a few facts tell important stories. The American economy now is full of facts that tell stories that you really don't want, but need, to hear.


Where are we now?


man sitting on California

A Golden Opportunity

by Michael J. Boskin, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Monday, August 13, 2012

Can’t anyone free California from deficits and dysfunction? By Michael J. Boskin and John F. Cogan.