Most of our economists begin their careers in the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), our parent ministry but they are also seconded to other ministries or statutory boards to gain exposure to a wide range of policy issues.
Our HistoryThe Economist Service began in the mid-1980s, when Singapore experienced a major recession. As there was no early warning system in place at the time, the recession caught the government off-guard.
To better prepare the government, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) set up an Economic Research Unit (ERU) to diagnose the economy’s health and develop key leading indicators on the outlook of the economy.
Apart from surveillance, the research economists from the ERU also provided economic analysis to support the work of the Economic Committee (EC), which was formed to propose solutions to pull Singapore out of the recession.
Throughout the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s, research economists from MTI continued to provide economic analysis to support policy formulation and the work of several high-level economic review committees. These included the Cost Review Committees (CRC) in 1992 and 1996, and the Committee on Singapore’s Competitiveness (CSC) in 1997.
On top of traditional macroeconomic issues like trade and inflation, concerns about microeconomic efficiency and competitiveness increasingly came to the fore. This resulted in a growing need for high-quality economic analysis in many areas of public policy throughout the public sector.
To better meet these needs, the government decided to set up the Economist Service in 2001. Since then, the ES has grown in strength.