Joshua D. Rauh

Senior Fellow / Director of Research

Joshua D. Rauh is a senior fellow and Director of Research at the Hoover Institution and the Ormond Family Professor of Finance at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He formerly taught at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (2004–9) and the Kellogg School of Management (2009–12).

Rauh studies corporate investment, business taxation, government pension liabilities, and investment management. He has published numerous journal articles and was awarded the 2006 Brattle Prize for the outstanding research paper on corporate finance published in the Journal of Finance for his paper "Investment and Financing Constraints: Evidence from the Funding of Corporate Pension Plans." In 2011 he won the Smith Breeden Prize for the outstanding research paper on capital markets, published in the Journal of Finance, for his paper "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are they Worth?" coauthored with Robert Novy-Marx. His other writings include "Earnings Manipulation, Pension Assumptions and Managerial Investment Decisions," coauthored with Daniel Bergstresser and Mihir Desai, which won the Barclays Global Investor Best Symposium Paper from the European Finance Association and appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Other work has appeared in the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Journal of Political Economy.

Rauh’s research on state and local pension systems in the United States has received national media coverage in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and The Economist .

Rauh received a BA degree in economics, magna cum laude with distinction, from Yale University and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

State Taxation And The Reallocation Of Business Activity: Evidence From Establishment-Level Data

by Joshua D. Rauh, Xavier Giroudvia Journal of Political Economy
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Using census microdata on multistate firms and their organizational forms, we estimate the impact of state taxes on business activity. For C corporations, employment and the number of establishments have short-run corporate tax elasticities of −0.4 to −0.5 and do not vary with changes in personal tax rates. Pass-through entity activities show tax elasticities of −0.2 to −0.4 with respect to personal tax rates and are invariant with respect to corporate tax rates. 


The Risky Business Of Public Pensions

by Joshua D. Rauhvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

State and local governments all around the country have failed to set aside enough money to pay for the pensions they have promised to workers in the public sector. They’re also making unrealistic assumptions about their future investment returns, further risking their budgets and the ability to pay for promised pension benefits. Confronting the true cost of future pension payments would force state and local governments to save more now and prevent budget problems in the future.

In the News

How Public Pension Funds Are Subsidizing Infrastructure

quoting Joshua D. Rauhvia Seeking Alpha
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Public pension funds in the United States invest in infrastructure. Unfortunately, they aren't very good at it. A recent working paper of the NBER concludes, indeed, that public pensions are so bad at such investments that they-and thus either the public or its retirees or both-are unwittingly subsidizing infrastructure projects.


Ep. 14: Defusing The Pension Bomb Part 2 With Dr. Josh Rauh

interview with Joshua D. Rauhvia The Devin Nunes Podcast
Friday, January 25, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Josh Rauh discusses the unfunded public employee pensions gap and what happens when a pension fund runs out of money.


A Costly Way To Address The Pension Crisis

by Joshua D. Rauhvia The Washington Times
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

When both Democratic and Republican lawmakers recently joined together to support a taxpayer-funded, multibillion-dollar bailout of big union pension funds, you didn’t need to be a “swamp” creature to know something has gone terribly wrong in Washington, D.C.


Defusing The Pension Bomb With Dr. Josh Rauh

interview with Joshua D. Rauhvia The Devin Nunes Podcast
Friday, January 18, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Josh Rauh discusses public employee pensions.

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Reforms Urged To Control Exploding California Pension Costs

interview with Joshua D. Rauhvia Hoover Institution News
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The public pension nightmare for California will only worsen unless serious reforms are adopted, a Hoover scholar says. Joshua Rauh, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, suggests that governments in California need to either offer more modest pension benefits—and fund those much more conservatively—or start putting public employees into defined contribution plans.

Policy BriefsFeatured

Josh Rauh Warns Why Taxpayers Will Have To Bail Out Public Pensions

by Joshua D. Rauhvia PolicyEd
Monday, January 7, 2019

State and local governments are claiming that they’re running balanced budgets, when in reality they’re relying on future investment returns to pay for pension benefits to retirees.


The Burden Of Public Pension Promises On State And Local Budgets

by Joshua D. Rauh, Daniel Bergstresservia EconoFact
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Unfunded pension liabilities represent a significant challenge to the finances of many state and local governments. While no analysts dispute the general statement that pensions are underfunded in aggregate, there has been some discussion about how to estimate the magnitude of the gap.

The Return Expectations of Institutional Investors

by Aleksandar Andonov, Joshua D. Rauhvia Economics Working Papers
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Economics Working Paper 18119