John Raisian

Boyd and Jill Smith Senior Fellow

John Raisian is the Boyd and Jill Smith Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. He joined the Hoover Institution in 1986 as a fellow, serving as associate director during 1986–88 and deputy director during 1988-89. From 1989 through 2015, he served as the Tad and Dianne Taube Director.

He received his B.A. in economics and mathematics from Ohio University in 1971 and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1978.

Raisian was a consultant to the Rand Corporation from 1974 to 1975, after which he was appointed at the University of Washington as a visiting assistant professor of economics in 1975–76.

From 1976 to 1980, he was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Houston, where he received a distinguished teaching award from the College of Social Sciences.

In 1980, he entered public service as a senior economist in the Office of Research and Evaluation, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1981, he joined the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, in two capacities: special assistant for economic policy, a position he held until 1983, and director of research and technical support, which he left in 1984.

As a result of his work for the U.S. Department of Labor, he received the department's Distinguished Service Award. In 1983, he took a leave of absence from the labor department to serve as executive director of the President's Task Force on Food Assistance.

After leaving the Department of Labor, Raisian became president of Unicon Research Corporation, an economic consulting firm in Los Angeles, where he worked until joining the Hoover Institution in 1986.

He is an economist who has specialized in labor market and human resource issues, both nationally and internationally. His past research interests have included the extent of wage and employment variability experienced by the U.S. workforce during the course of business cycles and, comparatively, by the Japanese workforce; the projected impacts of proposed comparable-worth solutions to pay inequities in the U.S.; union-nonunion characteristics of labor markets; the effects of minimum wage legislation; and the incidence of disability in the U.S. workforce.

He has published numerous articles on the economics of labor markets, one of which garnered an award for the best publication of the year in Economic Inquiry, awarded by the Western Economic Association in 1979. Other articles have appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Research, and Contemporary Policy Issues.

His current policy interests and expertise include the application of economic principles to public policy formation, the appropriate role of government in society, and the importance of human capital accumulation for productivity growth and economic prosperity.

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Recent Commentary

John Raisian, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution.

Joining the Policy Dialogue with Defining Ideas

by John Raisianvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, October 22, 2009

The mission of the Hoover Institution is to promote the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom, private enterprise, and representative government.

Reykjavik Revisited: Welcome and Opening Remarks

with George P. Shultz, John Raisian, Sam Nunn, Max Kampelman, James Goodby, Sergio Duartevia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Welcome and opening remarks from the Hoover Institution's Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons conference. The event features discussants John Raisian, Sam Nunn, Sergio Duarte, Max Kampelman, George Shultz and James Goodby. (44:05)

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Why Freedom Matters

by John Raisianvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2006

John Raisian

On the Indispensability of Think Tanks

by John Raisianvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 30, 2006

Gather intellectuals, add funding for research, and mix thoroughly—good ideas are bound to result. John Raisian on the vital role of the modern think tank.

High Hopes—and High Anxiety

by John Raisianvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, October 30, 2005

Economic growth and prosperity in East Asia have proven stupendous, yet security in the region represents a perennial worry. How Washington should navigate the tricky geometry of the Asian Triangle. By John Raisian.

American Ingenuity: A Key to Future Security

by John Raisianvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

It’s only natural for us to turn to our government leaders in a time of crisis. But do Americans expect the government to centralize even more of the workings of our society? That is hardly a foregone conclusion. By Hoover director John Raisian.

Analysis and Commentary

American Ingenuity: A Key to Future Security

by John Raisianvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, December 17, 2001

The challenge for our government is to stop ducking its responsibility, instead dedicating itself to finding the best solution to the problem of airport security.

Treasures from the Archives

by John Raisianvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, January 30, 1999

The Hoover Institution Archives contains more than fifty million items. Herewith Hoover Institution director John Raisian on one of his favorites.

About Herbert Hoover and the Hoover Institution

by John Raisianvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 1996

The Hoover Digest was conceived as a new and important vehicle to reach out to an informed public interested in knowledge and ideas about public policy. To set the stage and to describe the roots and purpose of the Hoover Institution, Director John Raisian offers background for the thinking and writings that will appear in this and future volumes.