Michael J. Boskin

Wohlford Family Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Michael J. Boskin is the Wohlford Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Tully M. Friedman Professor of Economics at Stanford.  He is also Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research.  In addition, he advises governments and businesses globally.

He served as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) from 1989 to 1993, when he helped resolve the Third World Debt and Saving and Loan financial crises, and place the first effective controls on government spending while protecting the defense budget.  His CEA was rated by the Council for Excellence in Government as one of the five most respected agencies in the federal government.  Earlier, on Presidential Candidate Reagan’s Tax Policy Task Force, he helped develop the policies that substantially lowered marginal tax rates, indexed tax brackets for inflation, accelerated depreciation, and created IRAs and 401ks, the economic rationale for which was predicated on his research on the effects of taxes on saving.  He later chaired the highly influential blue-ribbon Commission on the Consumer Price Index, whose report has transformed the way government statistical agencies around the world measure inflation, GDP and productivity. 

Boskin serves on several corporate and philanthropic boards of directors, including Exxon Mobil Corporation and Oracle Corporation.

In addition to Stanford and the University of California, Boskin has taught at Harvard and Yale. He is the author of more than one hundred and fifty books and articles. He is internationally recognized for his research on world economic growth, tax and budget theory and policy, US saving and consumption patterns, and the implications of changing technology and demography on capital, labor, and product markets. His op-eds appear regularly in the Wall Street Journal and other leading newspapers. He also writes a bimonthly column on global economics syndicated in 145 countries.

Boskin has received numerous professional awards and citations, including Stanford's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1988, the National Association of Business Economists' Abramson Award for outstanding research and its Distinguished Fellow Award, the Medal of the President of the Italian Republic in 1991 for his contributions to global economic understanding, and the 1998 Adam Smith Prize for outstanding contributions to economics.

Boskin received his BA with highest honors and the Chancellor's Award as outstanding undergraduate in 1967 from the University of California at Berkeley, where he also received his MA in 1968 and his PhD in 1971.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives or his personal website.

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Recent Commentary

John Shoven
In the News

John B. Shoven, A King Of Retirement Economics, Retires

featuring John Shoven, Michael J. Boskinvia Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

John B. Shoven has been a dean, a director and a chair. He’s been a consultant, an adviser and a mentor. And now, at 72, the Stanford economist well known for urging Americans to postpone collecting Social Security benefits for as long as possible is taking on a new title: professor, emeritus.

Policy InsightsFeatured

The US Debt—Causes And Consequences

featuring John B. Taylor, Michael J. Boskin, John F. Cogan, John H. Cochrane , Daniel Heilvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The federal government is borrowing at unprecedented rates. Spending regularly exceeds revenue, and this shortfall is predicted to grow dramatically in the near future. The result is a large and growing federal debt that threatens future Americans’ prosperity and security. What are the consequences of this higher federal debt and what can we do about it?

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Fellows With Friedman

featuring John H. Cochrane , Michael J. Boskin, David R. Henderson, Thomas Sowell, Richard A. Epstein, Alvin Rabushka, Robert E. Hallvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a Wall Street Journalop-ed, “America Needs an Alternative Maximum Tax,” John Cochrane proposes a new kind of tax that caps the amount that people would pay in taxes to prevent indefinite tax-rate hikes. He asks, “How much is the most anyone should have to pay? When do taxes indisputably start to harm the economy and produce less revenue—when government takes 50% of people's income? 60%? 70%?” If there is a maximum amount that an individual pays, then once past that cap they wouldn’t pay any further federal income tax for that year.

Featured

How To Regulate Big Tech

by Michael J. Boskinvia Project Syndicate
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Having benignly neglected big technology companies for years, democratic governments are now producing a dizzying array of policies to regulate them. The risk is that the flurry of policymaking will overcorrect and do more harm than good, not least by unintentionally stifling innovation and competition.

Featured

The Race To Challenge Trump

by Michael J. Boskinvia Project Syndicate
Monday, February 25, 2019

With 12 candidates already in the 2020 US presidential race, Democrats clearly believe that President Donald Trump is extremely vulnerable. If current trends continue, the next presidential election could be as dramatic and unpredictable as the last one.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Policy Insights: Free Trade

featuring Milton Friedman, John B. Taylor, John H. Cochrane , Edward Paul Lazear, Michael J. Boskin, Richard A. Epstein, Russell Roberts, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

After a generation of trade liberalizations, many Americans—on the left and the right—are having second thoughts.

Featured

Politics, Economics, And Carbon In 2019

by Michael J. Boskinvia Project Syndicate
Thursday, December 27, 2018

In 2018, many of the world’s major economies faced profound political recalibrations. To improve stability in 2019, leaders will need to focus on bread-and-butter domestic concerns, while moving toward more flexible and decentralized political models capable of governing diverse populations.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Policy Insights: Health Insurance

by Scott W. Atlas, Michael J. Boskin, Tom Church, John H. Cochrane , John F. Cogan, Daniel Heil, Daniel P. Kessler, John B. Taylorvia PolicyEd
Thursday, December 20, 2018

Health insurance helps many Americans purchase health care. So why is it so expensive, and how can we make it more affordable?

Comments and Related Research

Comments at the Session on the Recession

by Michael J. Boskinvia Revisiting the 2008 Financial Crisis
Friday, December 7, 2018

The general point is that there is much complementary evidence/analysis to the specific studies and uses of a macromodel mentioned by Taylor, so the conclusions should not be deemed exclusively dependent on that model.

Blueprint for AmericaFeatured

Reforming Regulation

by Michael J. Boskinvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

There are often economic, health, safety, environmental, and other benefits that justify regulation. But it is important to keep in mind that many of them create a drag on the economy by imposing costs or stifling innovation and competition. Once implemented, we need to track their impact and periodically reevaluate them. An ongoing goal should be to achieve the original goals at a lower cost.

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Please note:

Michael Boskin has been the subject of recent attempted identity theft and hacking.  If you receive an email communication from him that seems unusual or unexpected, please verify the correspondence by contacting his office officeofmichaelboskin [at] gmail.com (subject: Hoover.org%20Boskin%20Profile%20Request) (here).