Lee Ohanian

Senior Fellow
Biography: 

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

Teachers picket in La Habra last December
Featured

LA Teachers Strike To Preserve Their Ruinous Monopoly

by Lee Ohanian quoting Eric Hanushekvia The Hill
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Last week, 31,000 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers represented by the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) union went on strike for the first time in 30 years.

EnvironmentFeatured

With Permanent Water Rationing On The Way, Californians Pray For Rain

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

About four years ago, President Obama flew to California and joined Governor Jerry Brown and US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in a visit to a parched Central Valley town to discuss the state’s extreme drought and water shortage.

Featured

How Sweden Overcame Socialism

by Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, Lee Ohanianvia The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Nearly half of millennials say they prefer socialism to capitalism, but what do they mean? “My policies most closely resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes.” Yet Sweden’s experiment with socialist policies was disastrous, and its economic success in recent decades is a result of market-based reforms.

EconomyFeatured

Gavin Newsom’s Expensive Promises Meet California’s Economic Realities

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom begins the most liberal governorship in the state’s history, with a long list of campaign promises made to politically influential supporters. This includes the California Teachers Association, which has fought tooth and nail against charter schools and against teacher tenure and merit-based-pay reforms and which firmly expects the continuation of the state’s failed education status quo. It also includes the California Nurses Association, which is one of the most vocal supporters of a single-payer (“Medicare for All”) health care system in California, which would cost more than twice as much as the entire state budget.

Featured

Macron Must Convince The French To Take Their Economic Medicine

by Lee Ohanianvia The Hill
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron’s ambitious goal of creating a vibrant and competitive French economy through major economic reforms came crashing down last week when riots over issues ranging from fuel taxes to inequality forced him to backpedal on some of his key reform ideas.

EconomyFeatured

Only In California: Taxing Texting, And Why This Is A Really Flawed Idea

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was scheduled to vote next month on levying a new tax on cell phone texting. Yes, the state that is constantly looking to increase tax revenue thinks it has found a new tax revenue base in our increasing reliance on cell phone texting. The motivation for this proposal is that revenue from voice calls is declining as texting is becoming an increasingly important form of communication, and the CPUC wants to restore at least part of that lost revenue.

EconomyFeatured

The Simple Analytics Of Why California Home Prices Will Soon Fall

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The median price of a single-family home in California has increased to about $546,000. This is a record high, and is more than 80 percent above the 2012 median of $300,000. California home prices are likely peaking now, and I expect that they will decline soon. 

EconomyFeatured

After Spending $5.4 Billion, California’s Bullet Train Is Still Going Nowhere

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

Governor Jerry Brown will leave office next month with a legacy of presiding over one of the biggest public policy failures in the state’s history. The California High-Speed Rail project began in 2008 at an estimated cost of about $39 billion to build high-speed train service between Northern California, Southern California, and the Central Valley. Despite the project having been significantly scaled back, the price tag for the down-sized system is likely approaching $100 billion.

EconomyFeatured

California Budget Realities And The Coming Backlash Against The Democratic Party

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Since the midterm elections, California political discussions have been focused on the implosion of the California Republican party and the increased dominance of the Democratic party. Despite these trends, there are several reasons why I expect to see enormous pressure on the California Democratic party to significantly change their future economic priorities and policies. And this may happen sooner rather than later, just as there was a strong and unexpected national reaction against the Democratic party in 2010 and in 2016.

The StateFeatured

A Leading Physician And Health Policy Researcher Explains How To Reform Health Care

by Lee Ohanian interview with Scott W. Atlasvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

This week’s California on Your Mind commentary presents a question and answer session with Scott W. Atlas, MD about health care policy. Dr. Atlas is uniquely positioned to explain what is wrong with our current health care policies and what should be done to reform the system. Dr. Atlas is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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