Hoover Senior Fellow John F. Cogan’s book, The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs has been chosen as a finalist for the 2018 Hayek Book Prize.

The Manhattan Institute's Hayek Prize honors the book that best reflects economist Friedrich Hayek’s vision of economic and individual liberty.

Cogan’s work is the first comprehensive history of federal entitlement programs. He explains how entitlements created a steady march of liberalizing forces over the past 200 years that caused these programs to expand. This continues until benefits are extended to nearly all who could be considered eligible, which further encourages a social appetite for future entitlement expansions.

In his book, which was published by Stanford University Press in September 2017, Cogan offers a unifying explanation for the evolutionary path that nearly all federal entitlement programs have followed and describes the financial risks they pose for future generations.

Cogan is the Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. An expert in domestic policy, Cogan’s research is focused on US budget and fiscal policy, federal entitlement programs, and health care.  He served as assistant secretary for policy in the US Department of Labor from 1981 to 1983. From 1983 to 1985, he served as associate director in the US Office of Management and Budget, was appointed deputy director in 1998.

The Hayek Book Prize winner will be announced in the spring and will deliver the annual Hayek lecture in New York in June. The prize comes with a $50,000 award.

Amity Shlaes, jury chair, said, “Several nations confront a turning point—continue on Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, or opt for a better path. This year’s selections all note the darker way and illuminate the brighter alternative of free markets for nations' futures.”

Manhattan Institute President Lawrence Mone noted, “It is impressive to see such a strong list of finalists, showing that the lessons of F.A. Hayek and his work continue to be valued and explored today.”

A political philosopher and Nobel laureate, Hayek wrote groundbreaking works, such as The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty, and was the key figure in the 20th century revival of classical liberalism. He was also a formative influence on the Manhattan Institute. 

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