Vice President & Director, Economic Studies (Job ID: 2023-3214)

Economic Studies
Job Function
Posted Date
3 weeks ago(5/11/2023 10:19 AM)
Job ID
Commensurate with experience


This search is being managed by Spencer Stuart, please send resumes to:

Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!  


The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.  


We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy. 


With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors. 


Join the team at the Brookings Institution’s Economic Studies program (ES), and work with experts as they focus on addressing obstacles to long-term economic growth and opportunity. ES analyzes current and emerging economic issues facing the United States and the world and based on that research, provides innovative, practical policy recommendations. ES’s work covers a broad array of economic issues, including the labor market, regulation, health policy, and fiscal and monetary policy. ES scholars influence key economic policies by conducting rigorous and relevant research and then disseminating and communicating their findings to the policy community and to the broader public.  


Position Location: This position is hybrid. Hybrid positions combine regular in-person presence at our Washington, DC office with the option of at least two days of remote work each week.  


Vaccine Policy: Brookings requires all staff to submit proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to be in Brookings buildings.   


Individuals that (i) have a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination, or (ii) who object to being vaccinated based on a sincerely held religious belief, may request a reasonable accommodation. Brookings policies on masks and other pandemic mitigation measures will continue to be informed by DC and CDC guidelines. 


Ready to contribute to Brookings success? 


The Vice President and Director of Economic Studies (Vice President) will lead a program with 75-person and approximately $20 million budget with the goal of advancing the program’s position as a pre-eminent source of economic policy research and analysis. The Vice President will: set program strategy, including strategy related to hiring, development, and communications; serve as the program’s face to a wide array of internal and external stakeholders, including influential foundations, donors, and Trustees; foster an inclusive culture that unites staff and scholars around the program’s mission; and conduct rigorous, policy-relevant research within their area of expertise. The Vice President will also play a key role as part of the Institution’s leadership team as Brookings continually adapts to an evolving marketplace of ideas.


Leadership of Economic Studies

  • The Vice President will lead an accomplished team of scholars and staff. The Vice President will be responsible for setting strategic direction and ensuring the program’s continued impact in an evolving policy marketplace, including by ensuring a culture of research excellence and impact; attracting and retaining talented and diverse staff for all positions within the program; ensuring that scholars and staff have the mentorship and support they need to grow; managing the program’s budget to ensure long-term financial sustainability; optimizing the program’s administrative operations; fostering an inclusive and collaborative work environment; and effectively communicating throughout the program.
  • The Vice President will continue the program’s leadership in efforts to ensure that the economics profession and economic policy debates include a broad range of voices.


Institutional Leadership

  • The Vice President will serve as an integral member of Brookings’ senior leadership team and work closely with the other research and operational Vice Presidents, as well as the President and the Board of Trustees, to advance the Institution’s priorities and drive success across the Institution.
  • In this role, the Vice President will contribute to Institution-wide strategic decision-making and policy implementation, help foster a shared sense of mission and identity at the Institution and identify opportunities for cross-program collaboration.


Development and Board Relations

  • The Vice President will represent Economic Studies to donors and the Board of Trustees and engage with a broad range of audiences to raise the program’s profile with potential contributors.
  • The Vice President will work closely with the development team to devise the program’s fundraising strategy; cultivate strong relationships with new and existing donors, as well as the Board of Trustees; and help scholars identify opportunities to secure support for their research priorities, while safeguarding their independence.



  • The Vice President will serve as the face of the program in public fora and private meetings and speak to outside audiences about a broad range of economic policy issues.
  • The Vice President will oversee the communication team’s efforts to disseminate the program’s written work, conduct events, engage with members of the media and policymakers, and track the program’s impact.
  • The Vice President will also proactively assess and mitigate reputational risks and will direct crisis response when required.



  • The Vice President will contribute to the program’s reputation for research excellence by conducting their own rigorous public policy research and publishing the findings of that research in academic, policy, and popular media outlets.
  • The Vice President will organize public and private events and participate in panel discussions and other events at Brookings and other academic and policy institutions.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications: 


Education/Experience Requirements: 



  • Fifteen plus years of professional experience in economics and public policy, including at least some experience in academia, the federal government, or a think tank
  • Commitment to the program's mission of producing rigorous, independent scholarship that addresses pressing economic policy problems
  • Experience managing people with a range of skillsets and operating within a complex organization
  • Experience engaging diverse audiences, including donors, policymakers, and members of the media
  • Sterling reputation as a policy expert with a track record of producing rigorous public policy research
  • Demonstrated interest in a broad array of economic policy issues
  • PhD in economics or a related field

Strategic Skills

  • Deeply understands the contemporary economic policy and research landscape. Can leverage that understanding to ensure that Economic Studies – and the Institution as a whole – remain well-positioned to produce impactful scholarship in a rapidly changing and highly polarized policy environment.
  • Proactively identifies challenges and opportunities and adapts quickly. Engages in creative, collaborative problem solving to formulate realistic solutions and ensures those solutions are implemented effectively.
  • Brings experience with the funding landscape (or a willingness to learn alongside a talented team) and enthusiasm for devising and executing strategies that secure the resources the program needs to succeed.
  • Recognizes that organizations are only as strong as the people they attract. Assigns a high priority to optimizing the program’s ability to attract and retain a talented and diverse team.

People Management Skills

  • Exhibits empathy and understanding. Creates a work environment that fosters mutual respect, trust, and a sense of belonging. Through example, sets the tone for interpersonal engagement.
  • Leads decisively and thoughtfully. Possesses the confidence to move forward deliberately when warranted and the humility to know when to ask for input.
  • Works comfortably with employees with varied levels of experience and responsibilities and empowers them to do their jobs effectively. Displays ease engaging with scholars and research support staff about the substance of their research and with business line leaders and staff about operational practices.
  • Inspires staff and ensures that all staff see the connection between their contributions and the program’s overall goals. Forges a shared sense of mission and identity throughout the program.
  • Listens well and creates opportunities for regular feedback from staff at all levels of the organization. Leverages that feedback for own growth and development and for program enhancements.
  • Drives a culture of continuous learning and development for all staff, including by ensuring that other program leaders are providing experiences and guidance that support the development of people in varying roles including research assistants, administrative and operations staff, and scholars. Sets the tone for managerial culture by example through execution of their leadership duties.
  • Ensures accountability, including by setting and enforcing standards for scholarly work. Exercises discernment to differentiate situations that require unwavering compliance from those where greater flexibility is possible.

Collaborating and Influencing Skills

  • Deftly engages stakeholders to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Commands respect from – and instills confidence in – members of the Institution’s leadership team and the Board of Trustees. Demonstrates the ability to recognize competing needs and priorities, articulate rationales for proposed actions, and bring people along.
  • Builds partnerships – internally and externally – that enable progress in areas of common interest while accommodating individual or organizational differences in beliefs and culture.

Communication and Networking Skills

  • Communicates effectively and articulately to convey messages clearly, confidently, and persuasively. Skillfully tailors messaging to varied audiences.
  • Listens actively.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with a diverse range of people.

Scholarly Skills

  • Produces rigorous and accessible public policy research that is attuned to the current policy landscape. Remains abreast of developments within her/his area of expertise and the economy more broadly.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to scholarly integrity and independence.
  • Possesses the curiosity and intellectual tools needed to thoughtfully engage with the full breadth of the program’s research output. Leverages those capabilities to earn scholars’ respect; serve as an effective ambassador for the program’s work to outside audiences; and ensure that the program’s intellectual standards are upheld, while offering constructive, actionable feedback when improvement is required.
  • Exhibits enthusiasm for engaging with a vibrant community of scholars with diverse views and areas of expertise and for contributing directly to the program’s intellectual life.


Additional Information: 


What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings. 


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: if you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment. 


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings. 


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. 



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