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


Why California Has A Housing Shortage—And Why Housing Prices Are So High

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Silver Lake is a three-square-mile neighborhood in central Los Angeles and home to roughly 32,000 residents. A dispute between a Silver Lake service station owner who wishes to build fourteen residential units at that location and local government that is trying to prevent this new development illustrates why real estate prices are so high in California, and why it is so difficult to build new housing in the state.


The Supreme Court’s Union Decision Can Dramatically Improve California’s Education System

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The recent Supreme Court decision on Janus vs. ASFCME ruled that collecting public-sector union fees from employees who are not union members violates their First Amendment rights. The majority opinion interprets public-sector unions as political organizations in which effectively all union activity has significant political implications.


The Good Times Can Roll On

by Edward Prescott, Lee Ohanianvia The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, August 23, 2018

[Subscription required] Some Keynesian economists argue that the U.S. economy’s recent uptick is only a “sugar high.” They predict that the slow-growth conditions of the Obama years will soon return. But this pessimistic view is misguided. Better economic policies are the primary reason the economy has improved since 2016. If pro-growth policies remain in place, the economy’s strong performance will likely continue.


The Upside-Down World Of San Francisco Policies: Outlawed Cocktail Swords And Subsidized IV Drug Use

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The priorities of successful governments are public safety, policies that broadly enhance economic opportunity, and policies that provide a sensible safety net. Alas, I suspect it is hard to find any example of public policies that deviate more sharply from these principles than recent San Francisco policies involving two very different types of sharp objects.


Two Governor Browns And Two State Budgets: How California Stopped Investing

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Look inside Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown Jr.’s final state budget that was passed in June, and you will see important reasons why California struggles with a host of problems ranging from road congestion to reliable water supplies.

The StateAnalysis and Commentary

Is California On Your Mind?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 9, 2018

California on Your Mind is a new biweekly journal from the Hoover Institution about California politics, California policies, and the California economy. This online journal, written by Hoover Senior Fellow Lee Ohanian and Hoover Research Fellow Bill Whalen, fills an important need by delivering detailed, real-time economic and political analysis twice each week about the state that has become the world’s 5th largest economy.

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Green Grows the Market

by Lee Ohanian, Ted Temzelidesvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 9, 2018

Energy breakthroughs arise from neither political patronage nor government subsidies.

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California’s Solar Power Madness

by Lee Ohanianvia Defining Ideas
Friday, June 8, 2018

California’s unwise rush into renewables will raise building costs by about $30,000 per home.


California’s Solar Rooftop Mandate Doesn’t Make Economic Sense

by Lee Ohanian, Ted Temzelidesvia San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, May 18, 2018

This month, the California Energy Commission voted to require that almost all new California housing include rooftop solar panels. The commission estimates that after three years, the solar mandate will have the same effect on carbon reduction as eliminating 115,000 cars. But this represents only 0.8 percent of California’s registered motor vehicles.

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What In The Sam Hill Are Cows Doing On Sand Hill Road?

by Lee Ohanian, Edward Prescottvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, December 1, 2017

[Subscription Required] They’re eating the priciest grass in America, thanks to California’s out-of-control land-use rules.