Economists at the Joint Committee serve in quantitative and policy analyst roles, both of which provide the opportunity to work with an experienced inter-disciplinary staff of tax attorneys and tax accountants to participate in the tax legislative process and influence the nation’s tax laws. These economists apply their academic training and skills to tax policy in a non-partisan role, assisting both majority and minority parties in the House and Senate with legislative proposals.
Quantitative economists have the important and challenging duty of interpreting tax policy proposals and applying their economic modeling skills to produce revenue estimates in response to the thousands of such requests the Joint Committee receives each year. For certain requests, economists must also analyze the effect of a tax proposal on the macroeconomy. Our economists have unparalleled access to tax data which are used to answer these requests and to generally inform Members and their staffs of the population that tax proposals may impact. Quantitative economists write memos to report on effects of tax proposals to Members of Congress and staffs of the House and Senate tax-writing committees.
Policy analyst economists at the Joint Committee work closely with staff attorneys and accountants to assist with designing and implementing legislative solutions to Congress Members’ policy goals, a level of involvement with tax policy that not many economists have. These economists share many duties with the Committee’s legal professionals which include reviewing legislative text and preparing background material for Congressional hearings and markups of tax legislation. Policy analyst economists provide a price- and incentive-focused view in discussion and analysis of tax policy in meetings, presentations, and written communications for Member staff, taxpayers, and staffs of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees.
Economists participate in subject matter seminars and conferences and keep up-to-date with the economics literature in order to advise staff and to inform how the Committee constructs and updates sophisticated economic models. Additionally, economists write research papers for academic audiences on important taxpayer behaviors that result from efforts to improve these models.
The Committee generally hires PhD economists with training and interest in public finance, macroeconomics, and other specialties that can apply to tax analysis and research. Our economists start at the Joint Committee with a variety of experience; some come straight from graduate programs while others come with experience in government, industry, and academia.