July 8, 2015


Policy Career Case Study: James M. Hohman

By: AFF Editors

Hohman_medBeing a policy analyst is an adventure and every day brings new challenges. One day you’re tracking down companies that received state assistance and the next you’re calling to check on whether North Dakota privatized its fish hatcheries.

It’s the perfect job for the intellectually curious. Not only are you thrust against the common wisdom of an issue, but you’re constantly developing a better understanding, learning more, and communicating that knowledge to others.

For instance, Michigan’s economy has been struggling, and there have been a number of explanations for its poor performance. Each explanation identifies a problem and implies a policy recommendation for what the state can do to improve. As a fiscal policy analyst, it’s my job to get to the bottom of each reform suggestion, identify which ones are real reflections of the state’s situation, and show people why bad reforms are snake oil and good reforms are medicine. Sometimes, this involves busting myths of higher education, other times it means getting to the bottom of the state’s institutional framework.

Good policy needs more than votes—it needs people equipped with facts, figures, arguments, and ultimately truth. A policy researcher advances liberty by developing knowledge needed to promote and defend freedom.


This post is an excerpt from the IHS “Creating Your Path to a Policy Career” guide. James M. Hohman is currently assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.