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


Failures Of Governance Is The Reason Why The “State Of California” Is Bad And Getting Worse

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

Last week, California governor Gavin Newsom gave an upbeat State of the State speech. There are two major problems with Newsom’s assessment that belie California’s significant economic weaknesses.


Republican Lawmakers Work To Reverse California’s Anti–Independent Contractor Law

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

As more Californians lose work because of Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), the new ban on some independent contractor relationships, the California Senate Republican Caucus and Republicans in the California State Assembly are introducing bills to stop this new law from doing more damage. 


How An Emerging Third Party Can Help Reverse California’s Economic Decline

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

California politics has long been dominated by the Democratic party. But many voters, including some of the 35 percent who are independents, do not approve of what the Democratic party has—and has not—been doing for the state. Surveys show substantial voter disapproval of both the state legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom. Only one-third of voters approve of the legislature, and less than half of voters approve of Newsom’s job performance.


Three Cheers For Two Lawmakers Fighting Today To Save Millions Of Entrepreneurs

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

State Assembly members Kevin Kiley and Melissa Melendez are the first California lawmakers to try to do something about California’s awful new law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5). This new law may eliminate more than one million independent contractors in the state. Representatives Kiley and Melendez will be co-sponsoring an amendment to the state’s constitution that would overturn AB 5. Kiley and Melendez are organizing a protest of AB 5 at the state capital today.

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Forbidden Cities

by Lee Ohanianvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 20, 2020

Housing in the state may be critically scarce, but creating a new community in California can still take decades.


A Perverse Way To “Solve” California’s Housing Crisis: People Are Leaving The Golden State

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Almost everywhere you look, you will see somebody talking, writing, or complaining about California’s housing crisis. Choosing to live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, or Silicon Valley will cost you about $1,000,000 if you buy, and about $3,000–$5,000 or more a month if you rent. And that is if you are willing to live in something you would not want to post on Instagram.


The Worst California Law Of 2019—Eliminating Millions Of Independent Contractors

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

2019 saw much new California legislation that will depress economic opportunities and raise the state’s already high cost of living. Despite many candidate bills for worst of the year, it is easy to pick the winner (loser): Assembly Bill 5, which raises government intrusion in private labor relationships to an unprecedented and dangerous level.


As California Teeters Toward Recession, Will Voters Finally Demand Better Policies?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Is California heading for a recession? According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were fewer people working in October 2019 than in October 2018. 


Only In California: Housing Deregulation Increases Housing Regulations

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

This would be a head-scratcher anywhere but in California. Two years ago, state lawmakers passed legislation to expedite housing approval by exempting some projects from environmental lawsuits and zoning appeals. This legislation can cut the approval process by a decade or more and reduce costs enormously. So why is hardly anyone using it? 


Bernie Sanders Goes Completely Sideways On California’s Housing Crisis

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bernie Sanders is downright angry with Apple for its efforts to address California’s housing crisis. Last month, Apple announced it would contribute $2.5 billion, including $1 billion in new housing, $1 billion in mortgage assistance, and $300 million of Apple-owned land to be used for affordable housing.