Economic consultants "conduct research, survey business conditions, analyze policy and offer expert testimony."1 Generally, they try to bring clarity to the complexity of economic problems. Economic consultants analyze business organizations' economic statuses and propose plans to help improve and change their existing programs. They generally work for a consulting firm and the firm is hired by individual businesses.
Career Path:Analyst → Associate → Senior Economist → Manager → Vice President → Director or Partner(Career path may vary with firm)
Employers:Analysis GroupBates White Economic ConsultingCharles River AssociatesCornerstone ResearchThe Brattle Group
Qualifications/Preferred Skills:Consulting firms hire employees with bachelor's degrees for entry-level positions, but advancement in the field usually requires a PhD in economics or an MBA. A career in economic consulting requires strong mathematic and statistical skills; any programming skills are a plus.
National Average Salary-Analyst:Starting: $65,000-$75,000
Economic Consultant Bio:Economic consultant Richard Manning (BYU Economics alum) didn't initially start out in the economics consulting field. After working as an economics professor at BYU and a visiting professor at University of Chicago, he moved into the healthcare industry, working as an executive at multinational pharmaceutical companies for 14 years. Manning was pulled into economic consulting by a friend who convinced him it would be a good fit.
For his day-to-day work in economic consulting, his job involves two parts: litigation support and consulting projects. "Litigation support includes serving as an expert witness and supporting outside academics. It demands a great deal of focus and can involve long work days. The work involves overseeing the efforts of a team of consultants, reading documents, analyzing data, thinking about what economic theory implies about elements of the matter, and managing the relationship with the client (and/or the outside expert for those matters)."
Manning explains that economic consulting also involves public policy and business strategy. The client is usually interested in analysis of data, and a translation of that data into a report they can use with other audiences.
One of Manning's favorite aspects of the job is the teaching element. "I really do like solving problem, or helping other people solve problems and thinking through what conclusions can be reached with data, or through applying economic principles to a situation."
Manning notes that despite the load of his current job, he's learned how to balance the stress and intense "busyness" his position sometimes involves. "I think that most, if not all, interesting jobs and interesting lives have an element of this, so I'd recommend to anyone contemplating what to do with their lives to learn to manage and even enjoy what some might consider 'stress.' Work hard to bless the lives of others both through your work and elsewhere, and enjoy the ride. It can be a lot of fun."