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

The Uninsured’s Hidden Tax on Health Insurance Premiums in California

by John F. Cogan, Matthew Gunn, Daniel P. Kessler, Evan J. Lodesvia Analysis
Sunday, April 1, 2007

The basic premise behindmany recent California health-care reform plans is that Californians who have health insurance bear a large part of the financial burden of the health-care services provided to the uninsured. Doctors and hospitals, by charging insured persons systematically higher prices for health-care services, shift the costs of treating the uninsured onto the insured. These higher charges cause higher health insurance premiums— California’s ‘‘hidden tax.’’ According to reform advocates, the hidden tax is so large that the reforms, which include mandates and new taxes, will actually reduce those premiums.

A Gentle Touch

by John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2006

John F. Cogan

Medicine for What Ails Us

by John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, Daniel P. Kesslervia Hoover Digest
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Health savings accounts will give consumers more choices and control spiraling health-care costs. Sound like a no-brainer? It is. By John P. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel P. Kessler.

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Putting Money in a Safe Place—Our Pockets

by John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, April 30, 2005

Why personal retirement accounts represent “an essential ingredient in any plan to fix Social Security’s financial problem.” By John F. Cogan.

PAY IT FORWARD: Social Security Reform

with John F. Cogan, Alan Auerbachvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, April 15, 2005

In making Social Security reform a top priority of his second term, President George W. Bush has emphasized two points: first, that, without changes, our Social Security system will be bankrupt by 2042 and, second, that a key element of reform must be creating private accounts to allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds. Is the president right on both counts? Peter Robinson speaks with John Cogan and Alan Auerbach.

A HEALTHY DEBATE: Health Care Reform

with John F. Cogan, Alain Enthovenvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The United States leads the developed world in spending on health care, at nearly 15 percent of our GDP. But based on measures such as life expectancy at birth, Americans receive a lower level of care than do the citizens of many countries that spend less. What's wrong with health care in America? And how should we fix it? Peter Robinson speaks with John F. Cogan and Alain Enthoven.

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

by Daniel P. Kessler, John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 30, 2004

The American health care system is broken. Here’s how to fix it. By John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel P. Kessler.

A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: Social Security Reform

with John F. Cogan, Alan Auerbachvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, June 23, 2003

In 2001 President Bush established a bipartisan commission to study and report recommendations for restoring fiscal soundness to the current Social Security program. All three of the commission's models for reforming the system included the creation of individually controlled retirement accounts—a process commonly referred to as "privatizing Social Security." Some critics of the proposals argue that Social Security is not in as much trouble as the president's commission would have us believe and that major reform is unnecessary. Other critics say that creating private accounts will compound Social Security's problems rather than solve them. Who's right, the president's commission or its critics?

What We Should Have Learned by Now

by John F. Coganvia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 30, 1999

Hoover fellow John F. Cogan looks at sixty years of Social Security—and explains how not to save the system.

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