Economic consultants apply techniques of economic analysis to help businesses, regulators and policy makers evaluate and implement strategic decisions.
They use microeconomic theory, econometrics, quantitative techniques and financial modelling in conjunction with sector expertise to formulate tailored advice to organisations.
Typical problems may include helping a company with a merger opportunity, advising a company on how to respond to new taxation regulation, or analysing drivers of demand for public services.
Economic consultancies often specialise in certain sectors, such as financial services, telecommunications, or utilities. They will also provide particular kinds of consultancy expertise, such as competition policy, regulation, or market analysis.
Working as an economic consultant can be very varied because of the project based nature of the work. Projects will vary in length and scope, and you may well develop specialist expertise.
One key difference to management consultancy is that firms are usually much smaller, employing 10-100 staff. Nonetheless, several economic consultancies have more than one regional office.
Since economic consultancy focuses on factors that are often central to the state of the economy, and how those factors can be managed by businesses, work can be generated by the slowdown.
The current view from one particular independent economic consultancy is that activity has held up fairly well during the recent recession. The drop in merger activity has hit anti-trust cases but regulation and litigation work has been stronger. There has also been a strong appetite for advice related to the increased amount of state aid available during the recent economic crisis.
Another key area of growth is the energy sector, and while many firms already have a specialism, the increasing international emphasis on energy provision, regulation and rules of access has generated a great deal of work.