Lee Ohanian

Senior Fellow

Lee E. Ohanian is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of economics and director of the Ettinger Family Program in Macroeconomic Research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

He is associate director of the Center for the Advanced Study in Economic Efficiency at Arizona State University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he codirects the research initiative Macroeconomics across Time and Space. He is also a fellow in the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory.

His research focuses on economic crises, economic growth, and the impact of public policy on the economy. Ohanian is coeditor of Government Policies and Delayed Economic Recovery (Hoover Institution Press, 2012). He is an adviser to the Federal Reserve Banks of Minneapolis and St. Louis, has previously advised other Federal Reserve banks, foreign central banks, and the National Science Foundation, and has testified to national and state legislative committees on economic policy. He is on the editorial boards of Econometrica and Macroeconomic Dynamics. He is a frequent media commentator and writes for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Investor’s Business Daily. He has won numerous teaching awards at UCLA and the University of Rochester.

He previously served on the faculties of the Universities of Minnesota and Pennsylvania and as vice president at Security Pacific Bank. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his PhD in economics from the University of Rochester.

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Recent Commentary

More Students Left Behind

by Lee Ohanianvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 19, 2020
Decades ago, California voters soundly rejected race-based college admissions, and women and minority applicants thrived. A ballot measure threatens to reverse that progress.

An Economist’s Guide To California’s 2020 Propositions

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

California has plenty of issues for voters to decide on this year, ranging from regulating how gig drivers can work to potentially doing away with 1978’s Proposition 13 property tax protection for many businesses. And as always, at least some politicians will be hoping you don’t read the fine print or look under the hood of what you will be voting on. Below are economic issues on some of the most widely discussed propositions.

Analysis and CommentaryBlank Section (Placeholder)

Trump's COVID-19 Illness Will Make Financial Markets Even More Volatile

by Lee Ohanianvia The Hill
Saturday, October 3, 2020

President Trump’s positive COVID-19 test will likely create substantial turbulence within financial markets. We should expect much higher than normal volatility in equity prices and possibly interest rates while the president and the first lady quarantine, because their COVID test results create new economic and political uncertainty, and uncertainty almost always roils financial markets.


California To Say Goodbye To The Gas-Powered Car

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

California governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order last week to ban new sales of autos powered by internal combustion engines by 2035. Why? To fight climate change. But prohibiting the internal combustion engine won’t move the climate change needle.


How Much Will Restoration Of Racial Preferences Matter In California?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

California’s Proposition 16 on the November ballot would restore racial and gender-based preferences in college admissions, public contracting, and public hiring. These preferences ended in 1996, when Californians voted by a two-thirds majority to amend the state constitution and prohibit race and gender preferences.

In the News

Californiaʼs Assault On The Commercial Real Estate Industry

quoting Lee Ohanianvia California Globe
Thursday, September 10, 2020

Real Estate brokers warn: anti-real estate and business legislation, tax increases, rent control, have devastating effect on CRE investment, development and management.

In the News

State Policy Favoritism And Corruption

cited Lee Ohanianvia Cato Institute
Thursday, September 10, 2020

California leaders are in the news for passing a misguided law that requires most independent contractors to be treated as employees, and then realizing how harmful that is and passing another law exempting dozens of politically important industries from the mandate. Lee Ohanian describes the law’s damage here.

BusinessAnalysis and Commentary

California Businesses Leave The State By The Thousands

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

California businesses are leaving the state in droves. In just 2018 and 2019—economic boom years—765 commercial facilities left California. This exodus doesn’t count Charles Schwab’s announcement to leave San Francisco next year. Nor does it include the 13,000 estimated businesses to have left between 2009 and 2016.

Analysis and Commentary

How Much Is Amazon Worth To You?

by Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, Lee Ohanianvia The Hill
Sunday, September 6, 2020

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of about 11 percent of Amazon stock, recently became the first person in history to be worth more than $200 billion. Bezos’s net worth has skyrocketed as Amazon’s share price increased about 85 percent since February, before the pandemic.


How Much House Does $25 Million Buy In San Francisco?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

San Francisco is the most expensive housing market in the country. But doesn’t $25 million—not $2.5 million, $25 million—buy you a lot of house? You might be surprised at just how little. As I describe below, this home showcases just how comically distorted California’s housing policies have become, and why San Francisco continues its chronic march toward falling off an economic and social cliff.