|Headquarters||Eisenhower Executive Office Building|
|Parent agency||Executive Office of the President of the United States|
The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) is a United States agency within the Executive Office of the President established in 1946, which advises the President of the United States on economic policy. The CEA provides much of the empirical research for the White House and prepares the publicly-available annual Economic Report of the President.
The report is published by the CEA annually in February, no later than 10 days after the Budget of the US Government is submitted. The president typically writes a letter introducing the report, serving as an executive summary and used for press coverage. The report proceeds with several hundred pages of qualitative and quantitative research by reviewing the impact of economic activity in the previous year, outlining the economic goals for the coming year (based on the President's economic agenda), and making numerical projections of economic performance and outcomes. Public criticism usually accompanies its release, sometimes attacking the importance placed or not placed on particular data or goals. The data referenced or directly used in the report are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Truman administration established the Council of Economic Advisers via the Employment Act of 1946 to provide presidents with objective economic analysis and advice on the development and implementation of a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues. It was a step from an "ad hoc style of economic policy-making to a more institutionalized and focused process". The act gave the council the following goals:
1. to assist and advise the President in the preparation of the Economic Report;
2. to gather timely and authoritative information concerning economic developments and economic trends, both current and prospective, to analyze and interpret such information in the light of the policy declared in section 2 for the purpose of determining whether such developments and trends are interfering, or are likely to interfere, with the achievement of such policy, and to compile and submit to the President studies relating to such developments and trends;
3. to appraise the various programs and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the policy declared in section 2 for the purpose of determining the extent to which such programs and activities are contributing, and the extent to which they are not contributing, to the achievement of such policy, and to make recommendations to the President with respect thereto;
4. to develop and recommend to the President national economic policies to foster and promote free competitive enterprise, to avoid economic fluctuations or to diminish the effects thereof, and to maintain employment, production, and purchasing power;
5. to make and furnish such studies, reports thereon, and recommendations with respect to matters of Federal economic policy and legislation as the President may request.
In 1949 Chairman Edwin Nourse and member Leon Keyserling argued about whether the advice should be private or public and about the role of government in economic stabilization. Nourse believed a choice had to be made between "guns or butter" but Keyserling argued for deficit spending, asserting that an expanding economy could afford large defense expenditures without sacrificing an increased standard of living. In 1949, Keyserling gained support from Truman advisors Dean Acheson and Clark Clifford. Nourse resigned as chairman, warning about the dangers of budget deficits and increased funding of "wasteful" defense costs. Keyserling succeeded to the chairmanship and influenced Truman's Fair Deal proposals and the economic sections of NSC 68 that, in April 1950, asserted that the larger armed forces America needed would not affect living standards or risk the "transformation of the free character of our economy."
During the 1953–54 recession, the CEA, headed by Arthur Burns deployed non-traditional neo-keynesian interventions, which provided results later called the "steady fifties" wherein many families stayed in the economic "middle class" with just one family wage-earner. The Eisenhower Administration supported an activist contracyclical approach that helped to establish Keynesianism as a possible bipartisan economic policy for the nation. Especially important in formulating the CEA response to the recession—accelerating public works programs, easing credit, and reducing taxes—were Arthur F. Burns and Neil H. Jacoby.
Until 1963, during its first seven years the CEA made five technical advances in policy making, including the replacement of a "cyclical model" of the economy by a "growth model," the setting of quantitative targets for the economy, use of the theories of fiscal drag and full-employment budget, recognition of the need for greater flexibility in taxation, and replacement of the notion of unemployment as a structural problem by a realization of a low aggregate demand.
The 1978 Humphrey–Hawkins Full Employment Act required each administration to move toward full employment and reasonable price stability within a specific time period. It has been criticized for making CEA's annual economic report highly political in nature, as well as highly unreliable and inaccurate over the standard two or five year projection periods.
Since 1980, the CEA has focused on sources of economic growth, the supply side of the economy, and on international issues. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008–2009, the Council of Economic Advisers played a significant role in supporting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The council's chairman is nominated by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate. The members are appointed by the president. As of July 2017, the Council's 18 person staff consisted of a chief of staff (Director of Macroeconomic Forecasting), 15 economists (5 senior, 4 research, 4 staff economists, 2 economic statisticians) and 2 operations staff. Many of the staff economists are academics on leave or government economists on temporary assignment from other agencies.
|No.||Officeholder||Term start||Term end||President(s)|
|1||Edwin G. Nourse||August 9, 1946||November 1, 1949||Harry Truman|
|—||Leon Keyserling||November 2, 1949||May 10, 1950|
|2||May 10, 1950||January 20, 1953|
|3||Arthur F. Burns||March 19, 1953||December 1, 1956||Dwight Eisenhower|
|4||Raymond J. Saulnier||December 3, 1956||January 20, 1961|
|5||Walter Heller||January 29, 1961||November 15, 1964||John F. Kennedy|
|6||Gardner Ackley||November 16, 1964||February 15, 1968|
|7||Arthur M. Okun||February 15, 1968||January 20, 1969|
|8||Paul W. McCracken||February 4, 1969||December 31, 1971||Richard Nixon|
|9||Herbert Stein||January 1, 1972||August 31, 1974|
|10||Alan Greenspan||September 4, 1974||January 20, 1977|
|11||Charles Schultze||January 22, 1977||January 20, 1981||Jimmy Carter|
|12||Murray Weidenbaum||February 27, 1981||August 25, 1982||Ronald Reagan|
|13||Martin Feldstein||October 14, 1982||July 10, 1984|
|14||Beryl W. Sprinkel||April 18, 1985||January 20, 1989|
|15||Michael J. Boskin||February 2, 1989||January 20, 1993||George H. W. Bush|
|16||Laura Tyson||February 5, 1993||February 21, 1995||Bill Clinton|
|17||Joseph Stiglitz||June 28, 1995||February 13, 1997|
|18||Janet Yellen||February 18, 1997||August 3, 1999|
|19||Martin N. Baily||August 12, 1999||January 20, 2001|
|20||Glenn Hubbard||May 11, 2001||February 28, 2003||George W. Bush|
|21||Greg Mankiw||May 29, 2003||February 18, 2005|
|22||Harvey S. Rosen||February 23, 2005||June 10, 2005|
|23||Ben Bernanke||June 21, 2005||January 31, 2006|
|24||Edward Lazear||February 27, 2006||January 20, 2009|
|25||Christina Romer||January 28, 2009||September 3, 2010||Barack Obama|
|26||Austan Goolsbee||September 10, 2010||August 5, 2011|
|27||Alan Krueger||November 7, 2011||August 2, 2013|
|28||Jason Furman||August 2, 2013||January 20, 2017|
|29||Kevin Hassett||September 13, 2017||June 28, 2019||Donald Trump|
|—||Tomas J. Philipson||June 28, 2019||June 23, 2020|
|—||Tyler Goodspeed||June 23, 2020||January 7, 2021|
|—||Rachael Slobodien||January 7, 2021||January 20, 2021|
|30||Cecilia Rouse||March 12, 2021||Incumbent||Joe Biden|
((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Slobodien is now overseeing the small staff of economists at the council.