Careers in the Bureau of Economics

Bureau of Economics Information for Economist Job Applicants

The Bureau of Economics (BE) at the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a proud tradition of providing scientifically sound, data-driven economic analysis that informs antitrust, consumer protection, and business regulation policy in the United States. With a staff of approximately 80 PhD-holding applied microeconomists, BE plays an essential role in virtually all aspects of the FTC’s mission while striving to maintain a quality of economic analysis that rivals work done in major universities’ economics departments. BE’s most recent hires have obtained PhDs from UCLA, the University of Chicago, the University of California-Davis, the Ohio State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, the University of Virginia, and Washington University-St. Louis.

Much of the casework done by BE is economic analysis of issues related directly to law enforcement activities, such as case investigation or litigation support. Other activities involve policy analysis and research related to the FTC’s consumer protection and antitrust missions. It is important that FTC economists maintain a current set of theoretical and empirical modeling skills.  To this end, independent research is encouraged and supported. FTC economists regularly present their work at seminars and conferences, and publish in top journals. Economists may also have opportunities to share their experience through the FTC’s International Technical Assistance program, which fosters policy development and law enforcement around the globe.

Learn more about BE…

2014 Job Opportunities

BE expects to have both junior and senior openings for economists in 2014, as well as openings in our Visiting Economic Scholars and Fellows Program.  Permanent hires must be U.S. citizens. The Visiting Scholars program is also open to non-U.S. citizens who meet the following three conditions:

  1. They must have been lawfully admitted to the US for permanent residence;
  2. They now must be seeking US citizenship as outlined in 8 USC 1324b(a)(3)(B); and
  3. Under 8 USC 1324b(a)(3)(B), any pending application for citizenship must have been filed within 6 months after they first became eligible to apply for citizenship. 

Qualified applicants must exhibit thorough comprehension of microeconomic analysis and the research skills necessary for effective written and oral contributions on the public policy issues facing the FTC. Economists in all fields of applied microeconomics or econometrics are encouraged to apply.

Persons wishing to discuss opportunities at the FTC may do so at the January AEA meetings in Philadelphia or at FTC offices in Washington D.C.  If you are a U.S. citizen interested in a permanent position, apply online by at http://www.usajobs.gov by searching for BE-D-2013-0003.  Persons interested in the Visiting Scholars program should apply at http://www.usajobs.gov by searching for BE-D-2013-0004. For either position, submit a resume, a writing sample, and a copy of your graduate transcript or diploma. Separately, persons interested in either position should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be emailed to econrecruit@ftc.gov.  (Please note that USAJOBS permits the submission of other materials, which may not apply to you and are not required for these positions.  While USAJOBS offers you the option of submitting your materials in two steps, we encourage you to submit all your materials at the same time – arrange for your letters of recommendation to be emailed and upload all other materials to the USAJOBS website).  Please submit the necessary materials by December 1, 2013 if you are interested in discussing the position at the AEA meetings.  For assistance submitting your application materials using USAJOBS, see this cheat sheet.  For any additional questions, contact Vincent Guerrero at 202-326-3048 or vguerrero@ftc.gov. The FTC is an equal opportunity employer.

Scholarship and Research in the Bureau

Economists in BE benefit from numerous opportunities to advance their research careers, and their scholarly output takes a variety of forms, including publications in economics journals, working papers, and Bureau and Commission reports. A large group of well-qualified and experienced research and data analysts provides high quality support to the economic staff.  Economists in BE are also eligible to apply for the Kramer Fellowship, which allows them to pursue academic interests for nine months at either Harvard University or the University of Chicago.

Seminars and Conferences

The Bureau of Economics sponsors a weekly academic-style seminar series. In addition, several other government agencies and universities in the Washington, D.C. area have seminar series that BE economists can attend. The Bureau also provides opportunities for continuing professional development through workshops and lectures by leading academics.

The Bureau of Economics also organizes and participates in a variety of conferences and hearings that explore issues that relate to the Commission’s competition and consumer protection missions. In November 2013, the Bureau of Economics hosted the sixth annual FTC Microeconomics Conference. Other recent conferences have explored antitrust analysis of the grocery industry, the relevance of behavioral economics for consumer protection policy, the economics of the pharmaceutical industry, and the economics of Internet auctions. These forums bring together leading scholars, policymakers, and industry participants.

Human Resource Links

The FTC offers a family-friendly and collegial work environment in modern office buildings with easy access to Metro, Washington’s subway system, and commuter rail lines extending into Virginia and Maryland. A variety of child-care options are available in the vicinity, including at the FTC’s headquarters building.  Fitness center, locker room and bicycle storage facilities are also available on-site.

Salaries:  The career ladder for BE economists range from GS-12 to GS-15.  The current salaries for these grades are listed on the 2013 pay table.

Benefits: The Federal Trade Commission offers a comprehensive benefits package.