Robert Litan has had nearly four decades of experience, as an economist and attorney, 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 finance and financial regulation, antitrust, entrepreneurship, innovation and international trade, among other policy subjects.
Litan currently is a Shareholder with Berger Montague, a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and an outside consultant at Econ One.
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, and a member of Domestic Policy Advisory Board of the Smith Richardson Foundation.
Litan is a well-known speaker who has given hundreds of talks during his career before a wide range of audiences in the U.S. and around the world. His TedEx Kansas City talk, “An Economist Who Walks Into a Bar” has been viewed on Youtube over 370,000 times.
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 Advisers.
During his research career, Litan has authored or co-authored 30 books and edited another 14, and authored or co-authored more than 200 articles in professional and popular publications. His recent books include the Trillion Dollar Economists (Wiley Press, 2014), 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 10 languages.
His next book, Resolved: Debate Can Revolutionize Education and Help Save our Democracy, will be published by the Brookings Institution Press in October, 2020.
Litan earned his B.S. in Economics (summa cum laude) at the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania; his J.D. at Yale Law School; and his M. Phil. And Ph.D. at Yale University.