John F. Cogan

Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:

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

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
Analysis and 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.

Free-Market Medicine

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, Daniel P. Kesslervia Hoover Digest
Monday, August 13, 2012

A simple treatment for soaring costs and infectious bureaucracy. By John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel P. Kessler.

Analysis and Commentary

The Wrong Remedy for Health Care

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, Daniel P. Kesslervia Wall Street Journal
Friday, June 29, 2012

The Affordable Care Act will exacerbate the problems with our current health-care system. Fortunately, market reforms are still possible...

Analysis and Commentary

California's Casino Budgeting

by Michael J. Boskin, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, June 4, 2012

Higher tax rates will speed the exodus from the state and increase the revenue system's dangerous volatility...

Analysis and Commentary

Data Matters: A Tale of Two Budgets – Obama & Ryan

by John F. Coganvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[This] graph presents historical outlays and the striking contrast between two different future scenarios: one that follows the Obama administration’s budget and the other that follows the budget path that would be created under Paul Ryan’s plan...

Analysis and Commentary

California's Greek Tragedy

by Michael J. Boskin, John F. Coganvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No one should write off the Golden State. But it will take massive reforms to reverse its economic decline...

Mr Moneybags

The Gilded Safety Net

by John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The next wave of retirees will be, on the whole, very comfortable—think of them as million-dollar baby boomers. Why should the young have to shell out for them? By John F. Cogan.