The National Economic Council: A Work in Progress

Policy Analyses in International Economics 46
by I. M. Destler
November 1996
Book Description

In January 1993, President Bill Clinton established in his Executive Office the National Economic Council, parallel to the National Security Council born 45 years before. Its official purpose was to "coordinate the economic policymaking process with respect to domestic and international economic issues." The NEC was the President's staff instrument for fulfilling his campaign promise to give top priority to the American economy. Under its first director, Robert E. Rubin, the NEC orchestrated the development of Clinton's comprehensive deficit reduction plan. Then and since, it has sought to coordinate policy on a range of issues, particularly in the area of international trade. Now, as the NEC nears its fourth anniversary, it is appropriate to assess its record. How effectively has it played the role the president assigned it? Has its role been institutionalized, so the NEC can endure as the NSC has endured? Destler reviews its performance across a range of issues, from its two years under Rubin to its role under his successor, Laura Tyson. The analysis concludes with recommendations for strengthening the NEC in 1997 and beyond.

Book Data

November 1996
ISBN paper 0-88132-239-3
93 pp.

Commentaries on This Book

"In this brief book, Mr. Kantor looms as a major factor in what the author describes as the regular breakdown in the operations of the NEC, which was largely created by Mr. Clinton to coordinate international economic policy."

The Journal of Commerce

"This is still a new institution, and it's important to the effectiveness of economic decision-making that its role be strengthened in the next few years."

Laura D'Andrea Tyson
former chair of the National Economic Council

"Destler does some real digging and isn't afraid to reach some bold conclusions."

The National Journal

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