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

Fiscal Sanity illustration

An End to the Quick Fixes

by George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan H. Meltzer, John B. Taylorvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our return to prosperity depends on permanent tax cuts, predictable policies, and sane deficits. By George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, Allan Meltzer, and John B. Taylor.

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Where Did the Stimulus Go?

by John F. Cogan, John B. Taylorvia Commentary
Saturday, January 1, 2011

More than $1 trillion in federal-deficit spending did little or nothing to help the economy.  Why? Because it was used to pay down debts and reduce borrowing.

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The Obama Stimulus Impact? Zero

by John F. Cogan, John B. Taylorvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Liberals are still arguing that the federal spending stimulus wasn't large enough. How many multiples of nothing—its result according to new evidence—would they like...?

Analysis and Commentary

Open Letter to Ben Bernanke

by Michael J. Boskin, Charles Calomiris, John F. Cogan, Niall Ferguson, John B. Taylorvia Real Time Economics (Wall Street Journal)
Monday, November 15, 2010

We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called “quantitative easing”) should be reconsidered and discontinued. We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances...

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Principles for Economic Revival

by George P. Shultz, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, John B. Taylorvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our prosperity has faded because policies have moved away from those that have proven to work. Here are the priorities that should guide policy makers as they seek to restore more rapid growth...

The Effect of Medicare on The Disabled On The Market For Private Insurance

The Effect of Medicare on The Disabled On The Market For Private Insurance

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, Daniel P. Kesslervia Journal of Health Economics
Monday, July 12, 2010

John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel P. Kessler, “The Effect of Medicare on The Disabled On The Market For Private Insurance”. Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 29, pgs. 418–425, 2010.

Analysis and Commentary

A Better Way to Reform Health Care

by John F. Cogan, Daniel P. Kesslervia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today, President Obama will host members of Congress from both political parties at the White House to discuss health reform. . . .