ACUS Considers Best Practices for Organizational Placement of Economists Within Agencies

Economic analysis can be fundamental to agency regulatory initiatives. ACUS has previously considered how agencies can improve the quality and transparency of agency economic analysis. This fall, ACUS will consider issues related to the organizational placement of economists within rule-writing agencies.  

ACUS has commissioned a report on the subject from Jerry Ellig, Research Professor, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy at The George Washington University. Professor Ellig’s report finds that agencies typically place economists in three different types of structural organizations. The “functional” structure places economists in a centralized, dedicated unit that conducts all of an agency’s economic analyses.  The “divisional” structure spreads economists throughout an agency’s program offices.  A “hybrid” structure locates economists in program offices, but has a senior-level economist supervising the work of the others. Professor Ellig identifies strengths and weaknesses associated with all three structures.

The ACUS Committee on Regulation will meet on September 25 and October 17 to consider Professor Ellig’s report and a series of draft recommendations to agencies. If the Committee approves a recommendation and the ACUS Council places it on the agenda for the Assembly’s consideration, the ACUS Assembly will discuss and vote on the recommendation during ACUS’s December 2019 plenary session.