Difference Between NEC, CEA Explained

President-elect Barack Obama chose Lawrence Summers to head the National Economic Council and Christina Romer to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. What is the difference between the two bodies?

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We realized with President-elect Obama's announcement today that we needed to study up. As we mentioned, Mr. Obama chose Larry Summers to head the National Economic Council and Christina Romer to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. But what's the difference between those two councils? Here's what we found.

The Council of Economic Advisers was created by legislation in 1946. It's a small team of experts who advise the president on economic policy, a sort of mini White House think tank. Now the other group, the National Economic Council, was created by executive order just days after President Clinton took office in 1993. Its purpose is to bring together a large group of agency and department heads to coordinate policy - sort of like the National Security Council. So if the Council of Economic Advisers is a mini think tank, you could imagine the National Economic Council as a war room for government-wide economic policy.

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