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 Scott Mixon (Acting Chief Economist).

Featured Research

The Effect of Last Two Phases of the Uncleared Margin Rule on Participant Swap Decisions (Esen Onur, David Reiffen, and Rajiv Sharma).

  • The Uncleared Margin Rule (UMR) was a global regulation that requires entities to post a minimum amount of collateral (margin) on their uncleared swaps.  The goal of the rule was both to provide greater security for uncleared swaps, and to encourage central clearing of swaps.
  • The rule was phased in over time, initially applying to the largest financial entities, while eventually covering virtually all swap traders.  We examine the impact of the final two phases on trading and clearing in Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) foreign exchange markets. 
  • While the trade press suggested that imposition of the rule on the last two phases of entities would inhibit trading, we find little evidence of that.  We show that trading volume was largely unaffected by the extension of the rule to these additional entities.  
  • We find evidence that some of the newly in-scope entities reacted to the UMR by increasing their use of central clearing; from less than 9% of trades prior to phase 5 to over 15% after phase 6 went into effect.   
  • These changes were somewhat in contrast to the effect of previous phases.  In the earlier phases, the UMR largely affected the clearing decisions of entities that were clearing members of the London Clearinghouse.  In contrast, we observe large changes in clearing for phase 5 and 6 entities, even though none of those entities were members of the clearinghouse.
  • Overall, clearing in the NDF market increased from 31% prior to phase 5 to almost 44% after phase 6.  

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

 Information on Academic Collaboration