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

In the News

Policy Experts: California Needs To Reform Its Tax System

featuring Lee Ohanianvia KPVI
Thursday, July 9, 2020

California’s reliance on a notoriously fickle tax system has exacerbated the state’s budget problems in light of Covid-19, an economics professor said.

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California Legislators Spend $200 Billion And Taxpayers Get Less And Less

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

California’s 2020–21 $202 billion state budget spends about three times as much per state resident, adjusted for inflation, compared to California’s 1990–91 budget. And this is after $20 billion of COVID-19 related budget cuts. But as you look around the state, you will not see this much higher spending at work. You will instead observe public schools that are falling apart and potholes on major streets that are large enough and deep enough to take out your rear axle.


Progressive Lawmakers Decry Racism, But Their Policies Devastate People Of Color

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

California politicians are promising to address racism with new policies, including a potential state constitutional amendment, ACA 5, that would restore racial, ethnic, and gender-based preferential hiring and college admissions. As one lawmaker remarked, “It is time to eliminate the systemic racism that permeates our society. We will not stand for anything less.”


Lee Ohanian: How Much Spending Is OK Before Inflation Takes Over?

interview with Lee Ohanianvia The Larry Elder Show
Monday, June 29, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Lee Ohanian discusses another massive spending package in a relief effort for the Coronavirus lockdown. How much spending is okay before inflation becomes a problem?

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The Implications Of A Minimum Wage

by Lee Ohanianvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, June 18, 2020

$7.25 per hour? $15 per hour? What's good for the economy, and what's bad?

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A Better Way To Fix Infrastructure

by Joshua D. Rauh, Lee Ohanian, Daniel Heil, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

American infrastructure is need of an overhaul. But, as we learned in the last edition of Policy Insights, government-funded projects often fail to live up to their lofty goals. The problem isn’t that dollars aren’t being spent on infrastructure. Instead, it is that the money is being spent poorly.


The Effect Of Economic Freedom On Labor Market Efficiency And Performance

by Lee Ohanianvia Socialism and Free Market Capitalism: The Human Prosperity Project
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The labor market is the centerpiece of every economy. It determines how society’s human resources are utilized, both over time and across individuals, and how much workers are compensated for their labor services. In all countries, the labor market is the largest market in the economy, with workers receiving roughly 60 percent or more of the total income that is generated by market production. An equally important issue is how well the labor market functions. The difference between a poorly functioning labor market and a well-functioning labor market can mean millions of lost jobs and billions of dollars in lost incomes.


Restoring Racial Preferences Will Harm Many Who Are Supposed To Be Helped

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

California’s 1996 constitutional amendment that prohibits public institutions from preferentially discriminating by race, sex, and ethnicity may be reversed later this year to restore explicit affirmative-action policies.

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Steven J. Davis And Lee Ohanian: Unemployment, The Stock Market And Our Economic Future | Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing

interview with Steven J. Davis, Lee Ohanianvia Hoover Podcasts
Thursday, May 28, 2020


Steven J. Davis And Lee Ohanian discuss Unemployment, The Stock Market And Our Economic Future.

Steven J. Davis and Lee Ohanian: Unemployment, the Stock Market and our Economic Future

interview with Steven J. Davis, Lee Ohanianvia Hoover Virtual Policy Briefings
Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing with Steven J. Davis And Lee Ohanian: Unemployment, the Stock Market and our Economic Future  
Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 11AM PT/ 2PM ET