Office of the Chief Economist

Mission Statement

The mission of the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is to conduct rigorous economic and econometric analysis of derivatives markets; to foster market transparency by disseminating its research to market participants and the general public; and to partner with other CFTC divisions and offices to integrate economic reasoning and data analysis into Commission policy and cost-benefit considerations.

A list of the current members of the Office of the Chief Economists can be found on our Biographies page, which includes backgrounds as well as research interests. The office is led by Bruce Tuckman (Chief Economist) and Scott Mixon (Supervisory Economist).

Featured Research

Who Participates in Agricultural Futures Markets – And How? (Michel A. Robe, John S. Roberts)

  • There is a market core. Of the almost 4,000 reported grain and oilseed futures traders in 2015-2018, the top 25% most persistent traders account for around 80% of the open interest. Just under 200 persistent traders make up 40% of the open interest.
  • Granularity matters. Of nine trader categories, just three (managed money traders and commercial dealers/merchants, plus commodity index traders on the long side) account for about four fifths of all large trader positions. Managed money (non-commercial) and dealer/merchant (commercial) positions are strongly negatively correlated.
  • Traders overwhelmingly hold positions in contracts maturing in less than a year. The short-term focus is especially strong for non-commercial traders.
  • Calendar spreads account for one third of the reported open interest. Commercial traders who are not swap dealers (commercial dealers/merchants, mostly) make up from a quarter to two fifths of all calendar spread positions. Much of the intra-year variation in the total futures open interest can be tied to changes in calendar spreading.

For older research projects, please visit our Research Papers website.

Information on Academic Collaboration

The Office of the Chief Economist frequently collaborates with academics on research projects focused on financial markets. Often, these projects will make use of one or more of the data sets the agency receives as part of its program of regulatory oversight and monitoring. Many papers have resulted in publications in prominent academic journals. A selection of papers from these collaborations can be found on our Research Papers page.