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Become A Principal Research Economist

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Working As A Principal Research Economist

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $84,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Principal Research Economist Do

Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues. 

Duties

Economists typically do the following:

  • Research and analyze economic issues
  • Conduct surveys and collect data
  • Analyze data using mathematical models and statistical techniques
  • Prepare reports, tables, and charts and present research results
  • Interpret and forecast market trends
  • Advise businesses, governments, and individuals on economic topics
  • Design policies or make recommendations for solving economic problems
  • Write articles for publication in academic journals and other media sources

Economists apply economic analysis to issues within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment. Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy. Others examine employment levels, business cycles, exchange rates, taxes, inflation, or interest rates. 

Economists often study historical trends and use them to make forecasts. They research and analyze data using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs. They sometimes give a presentation of their research to various audiences. 

Many economists work in federal, state, and local government. Federal government economists collect and analyze data about the U.S. economy, including employment, prices, productivity, and wages, among other types of data. They also project spending needs and inform policymakers on the economic impact of laws and regulations.

Economists working for corporations help them understand how the economy will affect their business. Specifically, economists may analyze issues such as consumer demand and sales to help a company maximize its profits.

Economists also work for research firms and think tanks, where they study and analyze a variety of economic issues. Their analyses and forecasts are frequently published in newspapers and journal articles. 

Some economists work for companies with major international operations and for international organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations.

Many economists become postsecondary teachers.

The following are examples of types of economists:

Behavioral economists study the effects of psychological and social factors on the economic decisionmaking of an individual. They research how these factors lead to and affect the outcome of an economic decision.

Econometricians develop models and use mathematical analyses to test economic relationships. They use techniques such as calculus, game theory, and regression analysis to explain economic facts or trends in all areas of economics. 

Financial economists analyze savings, investments, and risk. They also study financial markets and financial institutions. 

Industrial organization economists study how companies within an industry are organized and how they compete. They also examine how antitrust laws, which regulate attempts by companies to restrict competition, affect markets.

International economists study international trade and the impact of tariffs and trade restrictions. They also examine global financial markets and exchange rates. 

Labor economists study the supply of workers and the demand for labor by employers. They research employment levels and how wages are set. They also analyze the effects of labor-related policies, such as minimum wage laws, and institutions, such as unions.

Macroeconomists and monetary economists examine the economy as a whole. They may research trends related to unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. They also study fiscal and monetary policies, which examine the effects of money supply and interest rates on the economy. 

Microeconomists analyze supply and demand decisions of individuals and firms. For example, they may determine the quantity of products consumers will demand at a particular price.

Public finance economists analyze the role of government in the economy. Specifically, they may analyze the effects of tax cuts, budget deficits, and welfare policies.

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How To Become A Principal Research Economist

Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

Education

A master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for most economist jobs. Positions in business, research, or international organizations often require a combination of graduate education and work experience. 

Students can pursue an advanced degree in economics with a bachelor’s degree in a number of fields, but a strong background in mathematics is essential. A Ph.D. in economics may require several years of study after earning a bachelor’s degree, including completion of detailed research in a specialty field.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level economist positions, including jobs with the federal government. An advanced degree is sometimes required for advancement to higher level positions.

Most students who complete a bachelor’s degree in economics find jobs outside the economics profession as research assistants, financial analysts, market research analysts, and similar positions in business, finance, and consulting. 

Other Experience

Aspiring economists can gain valuable experience from internships that involve gathering and analyzing data, researching economic issues and trends, and writing reports on their findings. In addition, related experience, such as working in business or finance, can be advantageous. 

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Economists must be able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions. For example, some economists analyze historical employment trends to make future projections on jobs.

Communication skills. Economists must be able to explain their work to others. They may give presentations, explain reports, or advise clients on economic issues. They may collaborate with colleagues and sometimes must explain economic concepts to those without a background in economics. 

Critical-thinking skills. Economists must be able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems. For instance, they might identify how economic trends may affect an organization. 

Detail oriented. Economists must pay attention to details. Precise data analysis is necessary to ensure accuracy in their findings.

Math skills. Economists use the principles of statistics, calculus, and other advanced topics in mathematics in their economic analyses.

Writing skills. Economists must be able to present their findings clearly. Many economists prepare reports for colleagues or clients; others write for publication in journals or for news media.

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Do you work as a Principal Research Economist?

Average Yearly Salary
$84,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$45,000
Min 10%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$157,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Palo Alto, CA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does a Principal Research Economist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Principal Research Economist in the United States is $85,021 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $157,000.

Real Principal Research Economist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Lead Economist for Asia Prudential Investment Management, Inc. Newark, NJ Sep 01, 2015 $500,000 -
$650,000
Principal Research Geophysicist Statoil Gulf Services LLC Houston, TX Sep 02, 2015 $176,000
Principal Research Geophysicist Statoil Gulf Services LLC Houston, TX Feb 09, 2015 $176,000
Principal Research Geophysicist Statoil Gulf Services LLC Austin, TX Oct 08, 2016 $176,000
Principal, Financial Economist Securities Litigation & Consulting Group, Inc. Fairfax, VA Oct 29, 2010 $175,000
Principal, Financial Economist Securities Litigation & Consulting Group, Inc. Fairfax, VA Jun 01, 2010 $175,000
Senior Principal Researcher IHS Global Inc. Houston, TX Jan 04, 2016 $158,570
Principal Research Optometrist Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Jul 01, 2015 $155,126
Economist, Research & Statistics Group, Financial Intermediation Function Federal Reserve Bank of New York New York, NY Dec 16, 2014 $155,000
Principal Economist Edgeworth Economics LLC Washington, DC Sep 04, 2015 $155,000
Principal Economist Corelogic Solutions, LLC McLean, VA Oct 09, 2014 $152,630
Principal Economist Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Oct 01, 2012 $152,300
Principal Research Optometrist Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Sep 13, 2014 $150,608
Economist, Research & Statistics Group, Macroeconomic and Monetary Studies Function Federal Reserve Bank of New York New York, NY May 11, 2015 $150,000
Principal Research Optometrist Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Jul 01, 2013 $146,221
Principal Economist Corelogic Solutions, LLC McLean, VA Oct 25, 2013 $141,240
Principal Research Optometrist Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Mar 27, 2016 $109,000 -
$218,000
Principal Economist IHS Global Inc. Houston, TX Aug 26, 2015 $107,363
Principal Economist IHS Global Inc. Houston, TX Jul 28, 2014 $105,000
Principal Economist The Louis Berger Group, Inc. New York, NY Nov 27, 2015 $101,358
Principal Global Health Outcomes Strategy & Research Assoc. Allergan Sales, LLC Irvine, CA Aug 25, 2014 $93,912 -
$141,600
Principal Global Health Outcomes Strategy & Research Assoc. Allergan Sales, LLC Irvine, CA Aug 24, 2014 $93,912 -
$141,600
Senior Principal Researcher, Biology Eisai, Inc. Andover, MA Sep 24, 2013 $92,518 -
$100,000
Principal Research Optometrist, Clinical Research Bausch & LOMB Incorporated Rochester, NY Apr 01, 2013 $92,240 -
$126,830
Principal Research Optometrist, Clinical Research Bausch & LOMB Incorporated Rochester, NY Sep 14, 2013 $92,240 -
$126,830

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Top Skills for A Principal Research Economist

  1. Research Projects
  2. Data Analysis
  3. New Methods
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed library research, data analysis, poster presentation, and manuscript composition.
  • Gained skills in independent experiment design and data collection.
  • Designed, synthesized, purified, and characterized arthritis and bone drug candidates using traditional medicinal chemistry and laboratory automation techniques.
  • Ensured compliance with HIPAA and FDA.
  • Obtained IRB approval, obtained patients' consents for follow up on disease recurrence, collected data and performed statistical analysis.

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Top 10 Best States for Principal Research Economists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Virginia
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Maryland
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Ohio
  8. Illinois
  9. Texas
  10. New York
  • (95 jobs)
  • (231 jobs)
  • (411 jobs)
  • (149 jobs)
  • (1,144 jobs)
  • (133 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (113 jobs)
  • (356 jobs)
  • (272 jobs)

Principal Research Economist Demographics

Gender

Male

53.4%

Female

28.9%

Unknown

17.8%
Ethnicity

White

52.3%

Asian

16.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

11.1%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

French

19.4%

Mandarin

16.7%

Spanish

13.9%

Cantonese

13.9%

Italian

11.1%

Chinese

8.3%

German

5.6%

Portuguese

2.8%

Ukrainian

2.8%

Albanian

2.8%

Greek

2.8%
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Principal Research Economist Education

Schools

University of Pittsburgh -

8.2%

Florida State University

8.2%

University of Pennsylvania

6.8%

University of Cincinnati

6.8%

Southern Methodist University

5.5%

University of California - Berkeley

5.5%

State University of New York Stony Brook

5.5%

University of Connecticut

4.1%

Arizona State University

4.1%

University of California - Santa Barbara

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

Boston College

4.1%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

Iowa State University

4.1%

Texas A&M University

4.1%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.1%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

4.1%

University of Delaware

4.1%

University of Chicago

4.1%
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Majors

Economics

16.6%

Chemistry

11.9%

Psychology

8.3%

Business

7.8%

Clinical Psychology

6.7%

Biology

6.2%

Finance

6.2%

Computer Science

4.1%

Electrical Engineering

4.1%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.1%

Education

3.1%

Experimental Psychology

2.6%

Pharmacy

2.6%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.6%

Biomedical Engineering

2.6%

Sociology

2.6%

Marketing

2.6%

Anthropology

2.1%

Communication

2.1%

Political Science

2.1%
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Degrees

Masters

35.7%

Doctorate

28.1%

Bachelors

19.4%

Other

12.2%

Certificate

2.6%

Associate

1.4%

Diploma

0.6%
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