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Robert E. Litan

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Expertise

Entrepreneurship, innovation, financial policy, general economic policy.

Bio

As an economist and attorney, Litan has had nearly four decades of experience in the worlds of the law, economic research and policy, and as an executive in both the private, public and government sectors. Through his extensive publications and many speeches and testimony, he has become a widely recognized national expert in regulation, antitrust, entrepreneurship, innovation and finance, and international trade, among other policy subjects.

Litan currently is a partner with Korein Tillery, a law firm based in St. Louis and Chicago specializing in large case antitrust litigation, and a senior consultant to Economists, Inc and the Brattle Group in Washington, D.C. He also serves on several advisory boards: the Smith Richardson Foundation; the Committee for Economic Development; the American Antitrust Institute; and the Taub Center for Social Policy Research in Israel.

Litan blogs on economic policy issues regularly for the “Washington Wire” section of the Wall Street Journal Online.

Litan has directed economic research at three leading national organizations: the Brookings Institution, the Kauffman Foundation and Bloomberg Government. He has also been a member of the international advisory board of the Principal Financial Group.

Litan has held several appointed positions in the federal government. In 1993, he was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, where he oversaw civil non-merger litigation and the Department’s positions on regulatory matters, primarily in telecommunications. In 1995, he was appointed Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where oversaw the budgets of five cabinet level agencies. He later was a consultant to the Department of Treasury on financial modernization and the effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment Act and co-authored several reports on these subjects. In the early 1990s he served as a member of the Presidential-Congressional Commission on the Causes of the Savings and Loan Crisis. He has chaired two panels of studies for the National Academy of Sciences, and has served on one other NAS committee. He began his career as a staff economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

During his research career, Litan has authored or co-authored twenty-five books and edited another fourteen, and authored or co-authored more than 200 articles in professional and popular publications. His latest book is The Trillion Dollar Economists, published by Wiley Press in September, 2014. Other recent books include The Need for Speed (Brookings Institution Press, 2013, co-authored with Hal Singer); Better Capitalism, co-authored with Carl Schramm, published by the Yale University Press in 2012, and Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism (co-authored with William Baumol and Carl Schramm), also published by Yale in 2007, and which is used widely in college courses, and has been translated into ten languages.

Litan earned his BS in economics at the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania; his JD at Yale Law School; and his MPhil and PhD at Yale University. He grew up in Wichita, Kansas and it is where he currently lives.

All Publications

Foreign Affairs Article

America’s Brewing Debt Crisis

Author: Robert E. Litan

“Although short-term debt poses one of the greatest threats to the financial stability of the United States, Dodd-Frank has done little to mitigate it. Fortunately, several experts have proposed ambitious ways of dealing with the problem, including expanding federal insurance of bank deposits, allowing the Federal Reserve to lend money to more firms in the case of a panic, and banning unregulated financial institutions from issuing runnable liabilities,” writes Robert E. Litan.

See more in United States; Budget, Debt, and Deficits

Op-Ed

Among High-Growth Firms, Reason for Optimism on Startups. (Really.)

Author: Robert E. Litan
Wall Street Journal

Think Tank readers know of my pessimism about the 30-year secular decline in the startup rate–the ratio of new U.S. firms with at least one employee as a share of all firms–through 2011. Labor Department data out Wednesday that looked at new firms and jobs created in the last quarter of 2015 showed how the numbers are down since the recession ended compared with pre-recession data.

See more in United States; Financial Markets