John F. Cogan

Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
Biography: 

John F. Cogan is the Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a faculty member in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University.

John Cogan’s research is focused on U.S. budget and fiscal policy, federal entitlement programs, and health care.  He has published widely in professional journals in both economics and political science.  His latest book, The High Cost of Good Intentions (2017) is the recipient of the 2018 Hayek Prize.  The book traces the history of U.S. federal entitlement programs from the Revolutionary War to modern times.  His previous books include Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System, coauthored with Glenn Hubbard and Daniel Kessler, and The Budget Puzzle, (with Timothy Muris and Allen Schick).

At Stanford, he has served on faculty advisory boards for the Stanford-in-Washington campus and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He is a recipient of the Stanford-in-Government's Distinguished Service Award.

Cogan has devoted a considerable part of his career to public service. He served under President Ronald Reagan as assistant secretary for policy in the U.S. Department of Labor from 1981 to 1983, as associate director in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 1983 to 1985, and as Deputy (OMB) Director in 1988-89.  His responsibilities included developing and reviewing Reagan Administration policies in the areas of health care, Social Security, disability, welfare, and employment training.

Cogan has served on numerous congressional, presidential, and California state advisory commissions. At the federal level, he has served on President George W. Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, the U.S. 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. He has also served on the California State Commission on the 21st Century Economy and the California Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission.  

Cogan is a member of the Board of Directors of Gilead Sciences where he is the Lead Independent Director and a member of the board of trustees of the Charles Schwab Family of Funds where he is Chairman of the Governance Committee.

Cogan received his A.B. in 1969 and his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of California at Los Angeles, both in economics.  He received his M.A. in Economics from California State University at Long Beach in 1970.  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

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Time to Get Growing

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, John B. Taylor, Kevin Warshvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

Weak economic performance is not inevitable. 

Federal Reserve
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The Fed Chief America Needs

by George P. Shultz, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The president should pick someone who understands that the economy can grow more than 2% a year.

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The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History Of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs

by John F. Coganvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Friday, September 22, 2017

Federal entitlement programs are strewn throughout the pages of U.S. history, springing from the noble purpose of assisting people who are destitute through no fault of their own. Yet as federal entitlement programs have grown, so too have their inefficiency and their cost. Neither tax revenues nor revenues generated by the national economy have been able to keep pace with their rising growth, bringing the national debt to a record peacetime level.

Blueprint for AmericaFeatured

Entitlements And The Budget

by John F. Coganvia Policyed.org
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The United States faces a fiscal challenge unlike any in its history, driven entirely by spending on federal entitlement programs. The country is currently borrowing half a trillion dollars a year and is on pace to borrow a trillion dollars every year. Unless entitlement spending is restrained, every American will face higher taxes and lower standards of living.

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On The Prospects For Higher Economic Growth

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, John B. Taylor, Kevin Warshvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hoover and AEI economists release white paper on comprehensive economic policy reforms to achieve 3 percent growth.

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America the Fixer-Upper

by George P. Shultz, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 21, 2016

If we got entitlement programs under control, we could pay for the infrastructure we desperately need. 

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Finding The Money For America The Fixer-Upper

by George P. Shultz, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Roads and water systems need repair. Funding can be found by making needed government reforms.

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Rescuing ObamaCare

by Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The best cure? High-deductible plans and health savings accounts.

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Two Essential Tools For Repairing The Obamacare Damage

by Scott W. Atlas, John F. Coganvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Health-care savings accounts and high-deductible plans empower consumers and will bring down costs.

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.

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