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


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.


Tarnishing The Golden And Empire States: Land-Use Restrictions And The U.S. Economic Slowdown

by Kyle F. Herkenhoff, Lee Ohanian, Edward Prescottvia Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Monday, November 20, 2017

This paper studies the impact of state-level land-use restrictions on U.S. economic activity, focusing on how these restrictions have depressed macroeconomic activity since 2000. We use a variety of state-level data sources, together with a general equilibrium spatial model of the United States to systematically construct a panel dataset of state-level land-use restrictions between 1950 and 2014.


My Kingdom For A Renewable Energy Source

by Lee Ohanian, Ted Temzelidesvia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, November 12, 2017

What 19th-century British horses teach us about free markets.