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  1. Office of Economics and Analysis

Economics Staff

Ephraim Leibtag, Ph.D., Chief Economist

Major Functions

The Economics Staff assess FDA regulations and related policy issues. In this role, we advise and assist the Commissioner and other key officials on the economic implications of current and proposed Agency activities.

  • We conduct prospective and retrospective economic impact analyses of regulations. FDA management uses these benefit-cost analyses to assess, design, and evaluate public health programs and policies.  
  • We collect and study data on regulated products and industries to develop sector profiles as well as to analyze consumer and industry behavior. Our staff also research special topics as deemed necessary by Agency leadership and priorities. To ensure that data and methods supporting these activities are reliable, current, and appropriate, staff maintain expertise in applied welfare economics, data-driven modeling and simulations, and applied statistics.  
  • Staff present economic analyses and research to various parties outside the Agency, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, and various non-governmental organizations. We also prepare economic material for use by Agency officials in preparing congressional testimony and in responding to public inquiries.

Selected Topics 

  • The structure of the U.S. farming and food manufacturing industries
  • The relationship between food and nutrition labeling and consumer health outcomes
  • A profile of the veterinary medicine industry
  • FDA regulations and international effects on trade
  • Trends and competition in markets for drug and biologics
  • Measures of drug safety and their implications for policy
  • The effects of foodborne pathogens, chemicals, and allergens on health outcomes
  • Consumer behavioral responses to health information and warnings
  • The benefits and costs of tobacco product regulations and standards
  • The impact of medical device reclassifications

Find out more about job opportunities and internships here.


Ephraim Leibtag, Ph.D.
Chief Economist

Ephraim Leibtag, Ph.D., Chief Economist

Dr. Ephraim Leibtag is Chief Economist of the FDA, where he currently leads FDA’s team of economists responsible for conducting the Regulatory Impact Analyses for all FDA rules and regulations. In addition, his team consults with and advises FDA leadership and staff on numerous high priority policy and economic issues. Leibtag previously was Acting Administrator and Assistant Administrator of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) where he oversaw the Agency’s staff analysis program. Prior to his time in ERS’s Office of the Administrator, Dr. Leibtag was Deputy Director for Research in ERS's Food Economics Division, responsible for directing the research program of the Division as well as reviewing and clearing all publications and presentations of the Division's staff. Before beginning his leadership roles, Dr. Leibtag’s personal research covered retail food prices and the dynamics of retail food markets with specific focus on forecasting and analyzing trends in retail food prices, estimating the impact of changes in the retail food environment on consumers, and modeling the pass-through of input cost changes to wholesale and retail prices. His work has been presented to Congress, Executive Branch leadership, policymakers and analysts, the research community, and other public audiences.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Economics Staff at Economics@fda.hhs.gov.

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